June 8, 2018
Recent Iowa legislation will amend the arduous drug testing law relating to private employers. Beginning July 1, 2018, Iowa private employers may take action based on an employee’s alcohol test result of .02 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath. This will allow employer action against employees who might show up to work under the influence.
Iowa’s 30-year-old drug testing statute is considered one of the most complex laws in the country for employer compliance. It contains precise and comprehensive drug testing procedures and protections that can potentially limit an employer’s ability to legally discipline or terminate an employee based upon a drug or alcohol test. The Iowa law details requirements on permissible types of tests, the employer’s written drug testing policy, notice requirements, and mandatory supervisor training, among a slew of other things.
Employers may easily violate the technicalities of the law, so it may be vital for employers who conduct drug testing in Iowa to ensure their policy complies with the amended law. Available remedies under the statute include reinstatement, back pay, and equitable relief such as attorneys’ fees. Employers should also consider consulting with counsel before taking adverse employment actions based on drug or alcohol test results.
Referenced Sources: Ogletree Deakins Iowa to Change Employer Alcohol Testing Requirement on July 1 (June 2018) https://ogletree.com/shared-content/content/blog/2018/june/iowa-to-change-employer-alcohol-testing-requirement-on-july-1
Jackson Lewis P.C. Iowa Amends Tough Drug Testing Law to Lower Standard for Positive Alcohol Tests (May 2018) https://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/iowa-amends-tough-drug-testing-law-lower-standard-positive-alcohol-tests