Iowa Supreme Court Says Bias Case Against Rent-A-Center Can Proceed

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says the state's civil rights commission can enforce discrimination laws against employers who require workers to handle labor disputes through arbitration.

The court ruled Friday that the Iowa Civil Rights Commission can pursue a sex discrimination case against Rent-A-Center on behalf of a worker in Council Bluffs who claims the company did not accommodate her pregnancy.

Rent-A-Center had argued that the commission could not bring the case because the complaining worker, Nicole Henry, had signed a contract agreeing that all legal claims related to her employment would be decided by an arbitrator.

The high court rejected that argument in a 7-0 ruling. The court says the Iowa Civil Rights Commission has independent authority to enforce discrimination laws and was not a party to the arbitration agreement.
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