House File 2044 - Introduced HOUSE FILE 2044 BY JACOBY A BILL FOR An Act relating to claims arising from state employees 1 committing sexual harassment in the workplace. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 5577YH (3) 87 asf/rj
H.F. 2044 Section 1. Section 669.21, subsection 2, Code 2018, is 1 amended by adding the following new paragraph: 2 NEW PARAGRAPH . c. The duty to defend and the duty to 3 indemnify and hold harmless shall not apply if the claim arises 4 from the employee committing sexual harassment in the workplace 5 in violation of state or federal law. 6 Sec. 2. Section 669.22, Code 2018, is amended to read as 7 follows: 8 669.22 Actions in federal court. 9 The state shall defend any employee, and shall indemnify and 10 hold harmless an employee of the state in any action commenced 11 in federal court under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the employee for 12 acts of the employee while acting in the scope of employment. 13 The duty to indemnify and hold harmless shall not apply and the 14 state shall be entitled to restitution from an employee if the 15 employee fails to cooperate in the investigation or defense of 16 the claim or demand, or if, in an action commenced by the state 17 against the employee, it is determined that the conduct of the 18 employee upon which the claim or demand was based constituted 19 a willful and wanton act or omission or malfeasance in 20 office. The duty to defend and the duty to indemnify and hold 21 harmless shall not apply if the claim arises from the employee 22 committing sexual harassment in the workplace in violation of 23 federal law. 24 EXPLANATION 25 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 26 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 27 Under current law, the state has waived sovereign immunity 28 for certain tort claims, which are defined as monetary, 29 pursuant to the Iowa tort claims Act, Code chapter 669. Under 30 current law, if a state employee is acting within the scope of 31 the employee’s office or employment, the state will defend and 32 will indemnify and hold harmless the employee or the state will 33 be substituted as the defendant in place of the employee. Thus 34 under current law, unless the employee is acting outside the 35 -1- LSB 5577YH (3) 87 asf/rj 1/ 2
H.F. 2044 scope of the employee’s office or employment, the employee is 1 not personally liable for torts. 2 In accordance with the Iowa civil rights Act, Code chapter 3 216, and federal law, it is unlawful for state employees to 4 engage in sexual harassment in the workplace. This bill 5 removes the state protection of an employee in a tort action if 6 the claims arise out of the state employee committing sexual 7 harassment in the workplace in violation of state or federal 8 law. Under the bill, a state employee would be personally 9 liable if sued for sexual harassment in the workplace. The 10 state would not defend the state employee and the state 11 employee would be liable for the plaintiff’s attorney fees and 12 damages. 13 -2- LSB 5577YH (3) 87 asf/rj 2/ 2