In this article...

In this article, we discuss questions about Iowa drug testing including:

  • Drug Testing for Job Applicants
  • Drug Testing Rules for Iowa Employers
  • Policies and Procedures for Iowa Drug Testing
  • Potential Consequences for Drug Testing in Iowa

Federal law places few limitations on employers regarding drug testing. Federal law does require drug testing for some high-risk industries such as transportation, aviation or contractors with government agencies, but otherwise does not require or prohibit drug testing. 

 

In Iowa, the law does not require employers to drug test their employees prior to hire them. However, employers may drug test their prospective employees or employees, though they must comply with certain rules and procedures.  In this article, we discuss questions about Iowa drug testing including:

  • Drug Testing for Job Applicants
  • Drug Testing Rules for Iowa Employers
  • Policies and Procedures for Iowa Drug Testing
  • Potential Consequences for Drug Testing in Iowa

 

Drug Testing for Job Applicants

 

An Iowa employer may require the applicant to take a drug test as a condition of employment. The employer must have a written drug testing policy that is available for the applicant to review and consent to.  

 

Drug Testing Rules for Iowa Employers

 

An Iowa employer may require an employee to take a drug test in one of the following circumstances: 

  • If an employer has a reasonable suspicion that you are using drugs; 
  • During or after the employee’s participation in a drug rehab program; or 
  • Following an accident that caused a reportable injury or more than $1,000 in property damage. 

 

An employer may also conduct drug testing without prior notice of employees selected from the entire workforce at a single site, all full-time employees at one site or all employees in a high-risk position such as transportation.  

 

Policies and Procedures for Iowa Drug Testing

 

Employers in Iowa must have a written drug testing policy that states the consequences for a positive drug test, among other things. The employer must also have employee assistance resources, an employee awareness program and training for supervisors. Iowa law also dictates the procedures for collecting samples to test, conducting the tests, confidentiality of results, etc.  

 

In Iowa, an employee who tests positive has 7 days to request a retest. For Iowa businesses with at least 50 employees, an employee who tests positive for alcohol must have an opportunity to enter a rehabilitation program if the employee has been working for at least 12 of the past 18 months and hasn’t previously violated the company’s substance abuse policy.  

 

Potential Consequences for Drug Testing in Iowa

 

Even though Iowa law allows drug testing, there are some restrictions and considerations employers must make. Some examples include: 

 

  • Discrimination: If an applicant or employee is taking prescribed medication protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act that would show up on a drug test and would otherwise be illegal. If an applicant is turned down because of a medication that is protected by the ADA, the employer could be liable.  Additionally, an employer who singles out certain groups of employees or applicants based on race, age or gender could face a discrimination claim. 
  • Invasion of privacy: In testing employees or applicants, employers cannot invade their privacy. Examples include requiring employees to disrobe prior to providing urine samples. 
  • Defamation: If an employer negligently publicizes a false positive test result, they could be liable for defamation.  

Posted 
February 15, 2021
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