Davis Brown Employment and Labor Law Blog

HR Quick Take: Helicopter Parents - November 19, 2020

Jo Ellen Whitney

Q: I have a young employee. Her mother just called and wanted to talk to me about her work performance and also to get a copy of her personnel file. What am I supposed to do?

A: This depends entirely on what you mean by “young employee.” If you have an employee who is 18 or older, even if that employee is still in high school, and they do not have a guardian appointed to them by law, then the employee is considered an adult. You would not typically share information about this employee, even with the employee’s permission, with a parent, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or others. 

Personnel files, conversations about performance, and other issues of this type would be an issue exclusively between you and the employee. 

If the employee is under the age of 18, the circumstance may be different. Certain things will require parental consent or notification. For example, it is generally recommended that parents consent to any drug testing under Iowa’s Drug Testing Law 730.5. However, even with younger employees, general performance discussions or questions about absenteeism should normally remain between you and the employee.  


HR Quick Takes features client questions and answers from Iowa employment attorneys. If you have a question you’d like answered, email info@davisbrownlaw.com.

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