The campus of Hawkeye Community College in Black Hawk County. (Photo by Hawkeye Community College.)
A community college in Black Hawk County is being sued by a former employee who claims the school failed to adequately enforce COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
In lawsuit filed recently in U.S. District Court, Christen Everett alleges she worked for Hawkeye Community College as an academic advisor from February 2018 through May 2021, when she was forced to resign.
Everett claims that at the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, she and other employees were allowed to work from home. They began returning to partial on-campus work in the fall of that year.
She alleges the school “failed to put in place proper protocols responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and thereby placed the health and safety of their employees in jeopardy.” The protocols that were put in place, she alleges, were not enforced, adding to the risks faced by employees.
She claims she reported her concerns about the safety protocols to the school’s human resources director on multiple occasions, and that the issues were never addressed. She alleges she was forced to resign due to the school’s ongoing failure to ensure the health and safety of the staff.
As part of her lawsuit. Everett claims she asked for permission to work from home 100% of the time as an accommodation for medically diagnosed anxiety and depression. She was twice denied that opportunity. Those denials, she alleges, constitute a violation of the Iowa Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on disability-based employment discrimination.
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission reviewed Everett’s claims earlier this year, and in July issued her a right-to-sue letter that allows her case to be heard in court.
The school has yet to file a response to the lawsuit.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.