Iowa Supreme Court rules on unemployment, workers’ compensation and products liability

June 9, 2016

Last week, the Iowa Supreme Court issued three decisions affecting employers and manufacturers.

Sondra Irving vs Employment Appeal Board addresses when employers must pay unemployment claims when an employee is incarcerated. The case also deals with the administration of the unemployment compensation fund when an employee is denied unemployment benefits for a job when the employee holds more than one job. In a result unfavorable to employers, the court ruled that the employer had to pay for unemployment benefits resulting when an employee’s employment was terminated for absences due to her incarceration, concluding that her incarceration was not a voluntary quit. The court also decided that the employee could not automatically be denied unemployment benefits for her full-time job, even though she was already denied unemployment benefits for her part-time job - the denial could not “spill-over” from one case to another.  For additional analysis, read the blog by Rox Laird, Court guts unemployment rule on jailed workers.

In a favorable decision for employers, David Lowell Evenson vs Winnebago Industries, Inc and Sentry Insurance Company, the court ruled that an employer’s matching contributions to an employee’s 401K plan should not be included in a weekly rate calculation when determining worker’s compensation benefits.

In Des Moines Flying Service, Inc. vs. Aerial Services Inc, LLC and Kirk P. Fisher the court clarifies the application of laws pertaining to products liability and when sellers and manufacturers are liable.

For links to the decisions click here.

Staff contact: Jessica Harder,