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Drug Testing in Iowa

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Drug testing by employers in Iowa is governed by these state rules.

Employers may conduct unannounced drug or alcohol testing of employees:

  • selected at random
  • during, and after completion of, drug or alcohol rehabilitation
  • upon reasonable suspicion
  • who are prospective employees
  • as required by federal law or regulation or by law enforcement
  • in investigating accidents in the workplace in which the accident resulted in an injury to a person for which a record or report could be required under Iowa's occupational safety and health law, or resulted in damage to property, including to equipment, over a certain estimated amount.

Upon receipt of a confirmed positive drug or alcohol test result that indicates a violation of the employer's written policy, or upon the refusal of an employee or prospective employee to provide a testing sample, an employer may use that test result or test refusal as a valid basis for disciplinary or rehabilitative actions pursuant to the requirements of the employer's written policy and the requirements of Iowa's drug testing law.

A confirmed positive test result means, except for alcohol testing, the results of a blood, urine, or oral fluid test in which the level of controlled substances or metabolites in the specimen analyzed meets or exceeds nationally accepted standards for determining detectable levels of controlled substances as adopted by the federal substance abuse and health services administration. If nationally accepted standards for oral fluid tests have not been adopted, the standards for determining detectable levels of controlled substances for purposes of determining a confirmed positive test result will be the same standard that has been established by the FDA for the measuring instrument used to perform the oral fluid test.

A sample means a sample from the human body capable of revealing the presence of alcohol or other drugs, or their metabolites, which include only urine, saliva, breath and blood.

Drug Testing Requirements

Drug or alcohol testing or retesting by an employer must be carried out within the terms of a written policy that has been provided to every employee subject to testing, and is available for review by employees and prospective employees. The employer's written policy must provide uniform requirements for what disciplinary or rehabilitative actions an employer will take against an employee or prospective employee upon receipt of a confirmed positive drug or alcohol test result or upon the refusal of the employee or prospective employee to provide a testing sample.

The policy must provide that any action taken against an employee or prospective employee will be based only on the results of the drug or alcohol test. The written policy must also provide that if rehabilitation is required as provided by law, the employer may not take adverse employment action against the employee so long as the employee complies with the requirements of rehabilitation and successfully completes rehabilitation .

Employers must establish an awareness program to inform employees of the dangers of drug and alcohol use in the workplace and comply with certain requirements in order to conduct drug or alcohol testing.

In order to conduct drug or alcohol testing, an employer must require supervisory personnel of the employer involved with drug or alcohol testing to attend a minimum of two hours of initial training and to attend on an annual basis thereafter, a minimum of one hour of subsequent training. The training must include, but is not limited to:

  • information concerning the recognition of evidence of employee alcohol and other drug abuse
  • the documentation and corroboration of employee alcohol and other drug abuse
  • the referral of employees who abuse alcohol or other drugs to the employee assistance program or to the resource file of employee assistance services providers

An employee, or a prospective employee, who is the subject of a drug or alcohol test conducted under Iowa's drug testing law pursuant to an employer's written policy and for whom a confirmed positive test result is reported must, upon written request, have access to any records relating to the employee's drug or alcohol test, including records of the lab where the testing was conducted and any records relating to the results of any relevant certification or review by a medical review officer.

However, a prospective employee is entitled to records only if he or she requests them within 15 calendar days from the date the employer provided the prospective employee written notice of the results of a drug or alcohol test.

If an employer has an employee assistance program (EAP), the employer must post notice of the EAP in conspicuous places. If an employer does not have an EAP, it must post in conspicuous places a listing of multiple employee assistance providers in the area.

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