Do You Know the Rule? Iowa Public Records

23 Feb, 2023 Frank Ferreri


Des Moines, IA ( -- Just about everything in workers’ compensation law is state-specific, and each state has its own nuances. While there are common threads from state to state, one area that tends to be ripe for variation is in what workers’ compensation information is public record and how it can be requested. 

For the State of Iowa, the chart below breaks down the rules surrounding the availability of records. 


General rule 
Agency records are open for public inspection and copying unless otherwise provided by rule or law 
Rulings and orders 
The record of declaratory rulings, declaratory orders, contested case proceedings, decisions, orders, rulings, settlements, and opinions are open for public inspection and copying 
Division of vocational rehabilitation 
Records obtained from the division of vocational rehabilitation are open records 
Confidential records 
The following records may be withheld from public inspection in Iowa: 
  • Sealed bids received prior to the time set for public opening of bids 
  • Tax records made available to the agency 
  • Records that are exempt from disclosure by another provision of state law 
  • Minutes and tape recordings of closed meetings of a government body 
  • The portions of agency staff manuals, instructions, or other statements issued which set forth criteria or guidelines to be used by agency staff in auditing, in making inspections, in settling commercial disputes or negotiating commercial arrangements, or in the selection or handling of cases, such as operational tactics or allowable tolerances or criteria for the defense, prosecution or settlement of cases, when disclosure of these statements would: 
    • Enable law violators to avoid detection 
    • Facilitate disregard of requirement imposed by law 
    • Give a clearly improper advantage to people who are in an adverse position to the agency 
  • Records that constitute the work product of the workers’ compensation commissioner, a deputy workers’ compensation commissioner, an agency attorney, or an employee of the agency; attorney-client communications; or that are otherwise privileged
Personnel records 
 Personnel records maintained by the agency of past and present employees that may contain confidential information may be withheld from public discolure in Iowa 
Authority to release confidential records 
The agency may have discretion to disclose some confidential records that are exempt from disclosure 

A person may request permission to inspect records withheld from inspection under a statute that authorizes limited or discretionary disclosure 

If the agency initially determines that it will release the records, the agency may, where appropriate, notify interested parties and withhold the records from inspection 

For compliance information from around the U.S., head to WorkCompResearch 


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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