Our Iowa & Nebraska Labor Lawyers
The partners at Smith & McElwain Law Offices remain dedicated to Harry H. Smith’s legacy of helping the working men and women of Iowa and Nebraska. That is why we specialize in labor law and workers’ compensation law in the Iowa and Nebraska courts.
We represent labor unions and their members exclusively, both at labor board hearings and in courts of law. Our focus is to provide clients with the skilled and dedicated representation they need to be fairly compensated for injuries and other grievances.
Our labor practice began with referrals from Harry’s family and friends, who were members of the Teamsters in the early 1950s. Since those first referrals, our practice has grown to represent labor unions throughout Iowa and neighboring states. And, we take pride in representing labor unions in a variety of industries and in both public and private sectors.
Since those early days, we have continuously and exclusively represented labor unions and their members at the bargaining table, through the NLRB process, before state labor boards, and in the courts. Like Harry, our focus and purpose is to provide our labor clients with competent and zealous representation in order to assist our clients in their representation of their members.
Our close relationship with area unions, and the labor movement in general, has ingrained in our lawyers and staff the simple truth that protecting your interests, protecting your rights, is why we show up for work every morning.
Labor Law Practice Areas
Our Iowa and Nebraska labor union attorneys have years of experience handling the following labor disputes in and out of the court room:
- Wage and Hour Disputes
- Leave Disputes
- Health and Life Insurance Coverage
- Health and Safety Regulations
- Workers’ Compensation Coverage
- And Discrimination
According to federal law, there are protected classes in which an employer cannot discriminate against you unless it inhibits your ability to perform your job. These protected classes are:
- Medical Conditions
- Physical or Mental Disability
If you feel that you have been discriminated against in the workplace based on one of these attributes, get in touch with one of our workplace discrimination lawyers.
Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) Negotiation Attorneys
Is your business’ current CBA about to expire? Contact Smith McElwain Law Office to negotiate on behalf of your labor union for your next CBA. Collective Bargaining Agreements set the terms of employment including wages, hours, working conditions, sick days, benefits, severance pay and termination conditions. Choose the legal team that dozens of labor unions across Iowa and Nebraska have chosen for these paramount work agreements.
Once a CBA is agreed to, violations of it can be subject to prosecution and federal intervention, however most of the time, these violations can be resolved using an arbitration process. Smith McElwain Law Offices is prepared to represent labor unions and individuals in arbitration or in court to protect their rights and their protections as laid out in the CBA.
Contact a Labor Law Attorney
At Smith & McElwain, our attorneys are committed to zealously serving the interests of our clients. We offer initial consultations at no cost to you. We are available during evenings and Saturdays to accommodate your needs. Translators are available upon request. We make it easy. Call us for an appointment today.
Labor Law in Iowa FAQs
Knowing Your Rights is the First Step to Protecting Them
Just a century ago, American laborers had very few rights at work. Today, all employers must follow federal, state and local laws to guarantee the safety and fair treatment of their employees. If you’re wondering whether or not you’re being treated unfairly at work, take a look at the top 5 frequently asked questions about Iowa’s labor laws. The Iowa Division of Labor website has more detailed information regarding wage requirements and other topics.
- Are Iowa Workers Entitled to Breaks?
For workers under the age of 16, employers must grant a 30 minute meal break for shifts lasting five or more consecutive hours. For all other employees, employers are not required by federal or state law to provide breaks; however, breaks lasting less than 20 minutes must be paid. Longer break periods can be unpaid.
- How Promptly Must Employers Pay Employees?
Employers are allowed to pay workers monthly, semi-monthly or biweekly. At the end of a designated pay period, employers legally have 12 business days to provide compensation. Business days excludes Sundays and legal holidays.
- What is the Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers?
The minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.35 per hour; however, if the amount of tips received combined with this minimum is less than the average federal minimum hourly wage, then employees must make up the difference. In other words, tipped workers are entitled to at least an average of $7.25 per hour.
- Can Employers Make Workers Pay for Uniforms?
If a uniform has a company logo or another feature that would render the uniform unusable outside of work, employers cannot deduct the cost from an employee’s paycheck. If required work attire is generic, such as a combination of a white shirt and brown pants, workers may be required to purchase their own work clothes.
- Can Workers in Iowa Request Leave to Vote?
In Iowa, your employer must allow you three consecutive hours of unpaid leave on election days so that you can vote. That said, you must give your employer a written notice at least a day in advance.
- Does the Employer Have to Bargain with a Labor Union?
Employers are required by law to bargain in “good faith” with certified labor organizations and their legal representation. This means that an employer must not refuse to meet at reasonable times, they cannot refuse to meet or refuse to discuss the topics necessary to come to an agreement. This does not mean that an employer has to agree to a reasonable offer, but they cannot use “take it or leave it” or other unfair bargaining tactics.
- What are Subjects that Must be Included In a Collective Bargaining Agreement?
Employers and employers, or their representation must bargain over “Wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment.” This may appear broad and vague, however over the years this has been refined to specific items that must be included in bargaining. These include:
- Fringe Benefits
- Health and Safety
- Grievance Procedures
- Health and Safety
- Non-Discrimination Clauses
- No-Strike Clauses
- Length of Contract
- Management Rights
- And Union Security
Smith & McElwain Law Offices Has Your Back
The Law Offices of Smith & McElwain has been standing up for Iowa’s workers since 1952. Our attorneys have represented individuals and labor unions before the Iowa and Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Courts in addition to district and appellate courts. Our three attorneys have more than 80 years of combined experience litigating labor cases. In addition to providing legal representation, we can walk workers through the grievance and arbitration processes. If you have more questions about workers’ rights in Iowa, contact the Law Offices of Smith & McElwain.