September 23, 2008
State Split on Ricks/Chardon Rule Continues
Woomert v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission, __ N.W.2d __ (Iowa App. June 25, 2008), deals with the broad question of when a state should follow a federal interpretation of a federal statute that was the basis for the state statute, but an interpretation that came after the state adopted its statute. I personally don't think any "weight" should be given to the subsequent opinion since it was not in existence at the time of adoption. It may be right, mind you, but it's not the same as statutory text, or an interpretation which pre-dated adoption. The language of Iowa's civil rights act concerning the trigger for the 180 day limitation period is nearly identical to the federal statute. The federal civil rights act requires that a charge be filed within 180 days “after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.” 42 U.S.C.2000e-5(e)(1) (2000). Iowa Code section 216.15(12) requires that a complaint be filed within 180 days “after the alleged discriminatory or unfair practice occurred.”
the fact that courts split, but the Iowa court held that it would consistently follow even post-enacted interpretations makes me wonder.
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