Nyemaster Goode, P.C.

Nyemaster Goode Top Ten List: No. 10 – Employer Drug Testing: Quick Year-End Compliance Check

By Ben Roach

I thought the best way to end the year was to continue my year-long role as the grinch of Iowa drug testing. If you attended one of our client seminars this summer or reviewed the materials on our website, you are probably aware that I am down on employer drug testing right now. I have come to the conclusion that Iowa’s drug testing statute – Iowa Code Section 730.5 – makes it too hard for most employers to comply with all requirements for any testing other than pre-employment. There are so many documentation, procedure, and notice requirements to follow, not all of which are common sense, and just one mistake can invalidate a positive test result and create legal liability. Despite my concerns over the difficulty of complying with the law, I do recognize that many employers feel it is important and worth the risk to test for safety, quality control, and other reasons. So, for those brave souls, here is my very short and by no means exhaustive quick checklist of requirements to comply with the Iowa drug testing statute. If you are currently testing or thinking of testing, please consider a quick review of the following items and compare to your current practices:
• Must have written policy
• Policy must be provided to employees and available to applicants
• Copies to parents of minors
• Two hours of initial and one hour annually of supervisor training
• Employer pays all costs of testing
• Written notice by Certified Mail, return receipt requested, of positive test result
• Notice must inform employee of ability to request retest of split sample within seven days, the cost of a retest, and that the employee has the choice of retest facility
• Applicants do not get option of retest

Here are my top 5 tips for avoiding what I see as common mistakes by employers and their testing partners:
1. Audit to ensure you have proof of written receipt of policy (or handbook) by all employees
2. Make sure the testing lab gets both specimens of split sample
3. Make sure the MRO spoke with the employee before issuing a confirmed positive test result
4. Make sure the written notice of positive test to employee is sent by certified mail, and identifies the right to request a re-test and the cost of a re-test
5. Make sure you have provided the initial two hours and annual one hour of supervisor training


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