Lawsuit challenges state’s ‘do not hire’ list

Iowa’s state government has illegally used a so-called “do not hire” list for decades, a lawsuit filed Monday claims.

The lawsuit argues that the state has created “blacklists” despite multiple rulings by administrative law judges warning against the practice.

The three former public employees named in the lawsuit are seeking to turn their complaint into a class-action battle against the state. If successful, the damages to hundreds of people on the blacklists could cost Iowa taxpayers millions of dollars, said attorney Tom Duff, who filed the lawsuit in Polk County District Court along with attorney Roxanne Conlin.

“The thrust of this lawsuit is that the state’s actions violate due process and good public policy,” Duff said.

The three former state workers found their names in an online database with more than 970 names posted by The Des Moines Register following an investigation by the Associated Press into the existence of a state government do-not-hire list. Mike Carroll, the now-fired director of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services, had insisted in testimony to lawmakers that no such list existed.

Carroll was fired by Gov. Terry Branstad on April 8 just hours after the Register published online documents that showed his agency offered thousands of dollars in hush money to former employees who had been fired. Carroll had also denied to both lawmakers and the governor that the hush money had been offered to ex-state workers.

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