Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump denied accusations of gender-based workplace discrimination and sexual harassment from a former campaign employee in Iowa, who he says was fired by his campaign "for cause".

Trump called her allegations "totally made up".

"She's a very disgruntled employee. She's from Iowa, she was fired by Chuck Laudner, who said she wasn't doing a good job," Trump said in a telephone interview. Laudner is Trump's Iowa state chairman.

Elizabeth Davidson, 26, filed a complaint with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission on Friday, according to the New York Times, that alleged she was paid less than male employees and fired for speaking to the news media when no male employees had faced such consequences.


Davidson also said that when she met Trump last year, he looked at her and another female volunteer and said, "You guys could do a lot of damage."

Trump denied that he made the reference to their appearance, saying he was not familiar with the phrase in Davidson's complaint.

He added that the allegations were intentionally timed to appear just before today's Iowa caucuses.

"It's a disgrace. You know it's a holdup. They do it the day of the caucus. I have no idea who she is," he said. "She also said I used a phrase - you and I have both heard a lot worse phrases than that, but that one is not in my vocabulary."