Tom Riley Law Firm Answers Hard Question on Current Legal Topics

Sponsored - The following content was created on behalf of Tom Riley Law Firm and does not reflect the opinions of Gray Television or its editorial staff. To learn more about Tom Riley Law Firm, visit

Today we are speaking with Peter Riley of the Tom Riley Law Firm about a variety of questions from viewers.

We start this week with a question from Ryan. Are there any laws regarding kids working jobs for school credit, to also be paid? Peter tells us there are indeed regulations regarding this. There are regulations for when you can do an internship for pay or without pay. It’s regulated by the Department of Labor and their website will have the guidelines for internship programs.

Kay asks, are there any legal routes when I have yet to receive my tax refund from the IRS? Although the IRS is behind on processing items, they can be contacted and they can help determine what paperwork or items are necessary to receive a return. Keep in mind it is a Federal entity and they may move slow and not always be the most responsive.

Tanisha says, a local convenience store clerk makes her and her children feel uncomfortable every time they go into the store. They are followed around and derogatory remarks are made by the employee. The supervisor has been alerted but has not taken action. What can be done about the discrimination? The government has Civil Rights laws regarding things like this. You should promptly file a claim with your local Civil Rights group and they can investigate, issue a report and then you can file a suit if you deem it necessary.

If an apartment has a no pet policy and you get an emotional support animal with a letter from a physician, can you be evicted for that? Peter tells us that the state of Iowa has some strict guidelines regarding this type of animal. Cedar Rapids also has it’s own regulations that allow for reasonable accommodation for emotional support pets. You should be able to have a qualified support animal as long as the regulations are met. If you have questions or concerns, try discussing it with your landlord, and maybe ask an attorney for more advice if you feel it is warranted.

Next we are asked, can you do an online divorce for an uncontested divorce? A divorce in Iowa has to be approved through the court system. There is a lot of paperwork that has to be complied and completed for a divorce. The court clerk can probably point you in the right direction for the resources that you may need to complete an online divorce.

After losing an unemployment appeal I agreed to pay back the unemployment. I was then asked to payback the extra COVID payments. Legal aid has said I don’t have to pay that back if I can’t afford it. Do I have to pay that back? Federal laws and regulations will dictate what part, if any, of the COVID payments will need to be paid back. Legal Aid is probably well educated on how this will need to work and it’s probably best to continue to work with them.

In our neighborhood, at a 4 way intersection, one of the homes has large items blocking the view at the intersection. What can be done to address this? If the blockage is caused by items on the person’s property, they do not have to be concerned with traffic. If the obstruction is on the right of way, then call the city code enforcement and they should be able to discuss this with the property owner.

Marsha states, her college age son was sucker punched outside a local bar and medical care was required. We have asked the local bar for surveillance footage and they have refused to provide it. Do we have a claim? Peter explains that the first thing to determine is what is your purpose to have the footage? The best choice would be to go to the Iowa police in order to obtain that footage and other information that may be needed to find the person and press charges or file a suit.

Jose says, due to COVID, I have just now returned to work. My rent is way behind and my landlord is threatening to throw me out. Do I have a legal right to stay in my house? Since the moratorium has been lifted on COVID based evictions for most people, you may not have many options. A landlord can now evict, but they need to give notice for non-payment and then follow the legal parameters for getting an eviction action. You should be aware that there are a number of programs that have funding available in Cedar Rapids, and there are a number of organizations that are there to assist in issues such as this.

Our last question is from Judy and she asks, are there any legal ways to enforce Gov. Reynolds block on mask mandates in schools? The state of Iowa has the right to enforce the laws of the state. Generally, the state controls local governments and has the ultimate power in these situations. There is currently a Civil Rights challenge in the courts that may allow that to be overridden.

For more information you can visit the Tom Riley Law Firm.