No punitive damages for sex bias, Iowa court says

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court says courts cannot award punitive damages against those who violate the Iowa Civil Rights Act by engaging in sexual harassment and discrimination.

In a case followed closely by trial lawyers and employers, the court ruled Friday that lawmakers did not intend for punitive damages — awarded to victims to punish wrongdoing — to be available under the law. The court says it’s taken that position since 1986 and sees no need to overturn its earlier ruling despite requests from victims’ advocates to do so.

The ruling came in response to lawsuits filed against Manley Toy Direct in Indianola, a subsidiary of Hong Kong company.

Three employees say a supervisor and a coworker repeatedly made vulgar and harassing comments to women, including name-calling and sexually explicit discussions.

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