The Iowa Supreme Court is allowing a woman to sue her boss and the Sioux City insurance agency he led for alleged sex discrimination and emotional distress.
The decision lets Joanne Cote take her case to a jury, but it’s more broadly significant because it means incorporated small businesses in Iowa cannot avoid compliance with the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
The case centers on the Derby Insurance Agency, its owner Kevin Dorn and Cote, the office manager.
Cote alleged that Dorn repeatedly showed his genitals at the office.
Cote sued in 2014 but Dorn tried to dismiss the lawsuit, citing a 1965 Iowa law exempting businesses with fewer than four employees, excluding family members, from Iowa Civil Rights Act compliance.
The court says incorporated businesses can’t use that law to escape civil rights actions.