Private employers in Iowa are required to follow very strict rules for drug testing under Iowa Code 730.5. This statute provides guidelines that employers must follow with regard to when testing can take place, why testing can take place, notice requirements for positive drug results, retesting rights for employees, and co nfidentiality rules. Because there are very strict rules that the employer must follow, the employer faces legal liability if they fail to follow the rules and protect the employees' legal rights. Damages include reinstatement, payment of lost wages, and attorney's fees. The employer requirements are important for employees to understand because an employee has legal recourse if his rights were violated during a drug testing procedure. When an employee actually brings suit against an employer alleging failure to follow 730.5, the employer has the burden to prove that they in fact followed the law, and if they fail to carry this burden, the employee wins. Employers must carefully document throughout the drug-testing process for current employees; testing for pre-employment of potential employees is less of a burden and does not require the same type of strict rules to be followed in order to avoid legal liability.
The main requirements for employers under Iowa drug testing laws include:
1) maintaining and providing to employees a written policy detailing the requirements of 730.5(9);
2) required annual training for supervisors;
3) the employer must pay for all testing costs;
4) the written notice of positive test results by certified mail;
5) notice to the employee of retesting rights if they received a positive test result;
6) only certain circumstances allow testing (pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, testing of employee who attended drug or alcohol rehab, post-accident, and random drug-testing of certain groups of employees, e.g. CDL drivers).
Tomorrow's blog will address pit-falls that employers experience, and the areas where employees may be able to sue employers for damages.