Patrick Smith

Patrick Smith represents public and private employers in a broad spectrum of employment law matters, including employment discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, FMLA, whistle-blower claims, defamation, and union related issues.

Patrick is an experienced litigator and trial lawyer. He regularly appears in state and federal trial courts throughout Iowa, as well as before the Iowa Supreme Court, Iowa Court of Appeals, and United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He practices before administrative agencies with jurisdiction over employers, including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Iowa Civil Rights Commission, and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Patrick litigates cases involving single plaintiffs, multiple plaintiffs, class actions, and collective actions.

Although a frequent litigator, one of Patrick’s goals is to help his clients avoid litigation. To that end, his practice includes consulting with employers on legal compliance, HR audits, drafting employment policies and handbooks, management training, and internal investigations. He is a frequent presenter on a wide range of employment law topics and publishes this blog.

Latest Articles

How much extra leave is reasonable for an employee who has exhausted FMLA but is not yet capable of returning to work? Does an employer have to keep the absent employee’s job open?  What medical evidence is needed?   How much interactive dialogue is enough?  What about an employee is who is unreasonable and/or demanding? A recent opinion from the Eighth Circuit provides helpful guidance about these and other problems employers face when deciding whether extended…
This is a question about which Iowa employers are increasingly concerned.  The probability your employees and applicants for employment have used marijuana in some form has substantially increased in recent years.    Medical marijuana use is now legal in 34 states and the District of Columbia.  Recreational use is legal in ten states.    But, marijuana is still classified as a “Schedule I” drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal to possess, use, or…
In 1990 Congress enacted the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) out of concern that employees terminated  as part of a Reduction in Force (RIF) did not fully understand the rights they were giving up in exchange for the payment of severance benefits.   Under OWBPA, a severance agreement entered into with a terminated employee over age 40 is not valid unless the agreement contains certain provisions.   Among other things, the release is supposed to be…
Although many employers use progressive discipline policies, I am typically not a big fan.   In theory progressive discipline seems like a good idea:  it allows an employee to learn from their mistakes.  It puts the employee on notice that further discipline is going to have more serious consequences.    It is difficult for an employee who has gone through the steps to claim surprise when the termination arrives. On the other hand, progressive discipline limits…
Publisher’s Note:  Today’s guest post is provided by Brandon Underwood, one of my colleagues at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A.   Hopefully Brandon will catch the blogging bug and continue to post…. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids medical examinations and inquiries in employment.  But not all of them.  Instead, an examination or inquiry’s permissibility, and scope, turns primarily on when it occurs.  Too early, and the examination violates the ADA.  Too late, and it may…