Margaret A. Hanson

Maggie is a rising leader and shareholder with a focus on employment litigation, employment practices liability insurance defense, and providing day-to-day and strategic advice to employers

Employment Law and Litigation 
Maggie defends a wide variety of employers including hospitals, municipalities, large and small businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, rental property management companies, insurance companies, not-for-profit organizations, and manufacturers in disputes related to

  • Labor and unions
  • Discrimination/harassment
  • Civil rights claims
  • FMLA interference and retaliation
  • Drug Testing
  • OSHA compliance
  • Wrongful termination
  • Retaliation
  • Breach of contract/non-compete agreements
  • Unemployment claims
  • ADA compliance and reasonable accommodations
  • Religious accommodations

She advises and defends employers, managers, and HR professionals in court, mediation, arbitration and administrative forums, including Iowa Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Iowa OSHA, OSHA, and Iowa Workforce Development. Maggie also advises and counsels employers on how to minimize liability and exposure and avoid litigation by conducting employee trainings, drafting policies, advising on policy implementation, and reviewing existing policies and procedures for compliance.

Employment Practices Liability Insurance Defense

Maggie works with insurance companies and self-insured clients to defend a variety of employment-related claims and/or lawsuits. This includes defending employers through their employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) policies for wrongful termination, harassment/discrimination, retaliation, and other civil rights complaints

Representative Experience

  • Obtained a positive jury verdict in a breach of contract matter before the Polk County District Court for a commercial real estate client which enabled the client to recoup some lost revenue
  • Obtained a directed verdict in a breach of contract matter for a municipality client in a bench trial. Facing long litigation with numerous claims, with the directed verdict, the client saved significant money and time
  • Argued an immigration issue involving the constitutional right to counsel and related issues before the Iowa Supreme Court
  • Defended and settled a nearly half-million-dollar sexual harassment claim for under $75,000
  • Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement with OSHA to reclassify and reduce penalties minimizing long-term and short-term risks following the death of a transportation company’s employee
  • Successfully obtained dismissal of a case against a retailer through its EPL insurance carrier for alleged violations of Iowa’s drug testing laws
  • Defended and settled a wrongful termination suit against a hospital for under $10,000
  • Obtained clemency from President Barack Obama for a federal prisoner who had been serving an extended sentence for non-violent drug offenses under sentencing guidelines no longer in effect
  • Successfully negotiated an early settlement with OSHA for a manufacturing client. As part of the settlement, advised the client on changes to procedures to reduce risk of future accidents


Maggie currently serves as a District 5C Representative on the Iowa State Bar Association’s Board of Governors and the Polk County Bar Association Board of Directors. With a few of her contemporaries, Maggie founded the Diversity Committee for the Young Lawyers Division of the Iowa State Bar Association. The goal of the committee is to increase the diversity of young lawyers in Iowa.

At Davis Brown, Maggie is a member of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Previously, she served on the firm’s Professional Personnel Committee, which handles attorney employment matters, including hiring, associate training, and the summer associate program and as the associate representative on the firm’s Board of Directors.  

Presentations & Publications

  • Hijabs, Tattoos, Dreadlocks, and More: Grooming and Appearance Policy Drafting and Enforcement for Staying Out of Legal Trouble, Religious Accommodation and Discrimination, BLR, October 2019.
  • FMLA Master Class, with Michele Brott and Jo Ellen Whitney, BLR, September 2019.
  • Exploring the Interplay of the ADA and FMLA - Are you lost in the maze?, Davis Brown Spring Seminar, March 2019.
  • Social Media in the Workplace, Greater Des Moines Partnership Small Business Workshop, February 2019.
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: it’s on us, Iowa Association of Councils of Government Directors Retreat, December 2018.
  • Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, Davis Brown Spring Seminar, April 2018.
  • Top Five Things to Know When Hiring Someone, Greater Des Moines Partnership Small Business Workshop, October 2017.
  • Under Pressure? HR Solutions to Hiring, Firing, & Discipline, Iowa Community Action Association Training Conference, July 2017.
  • From Hire to Fire: Employment Issues for New Employers, Iowa Brewers’ Guild, November 2016.