Iowa’s employment drug testing laws provide guidelines for employers who wish to promote a drug-free workplace. Iowa statutes do not encourage, discourage, restrict, limit, prohibit or require employers to conduct testing. However, those that do, must comply with the procedures and requirements stated in IA Code § 730.5. Written policies must be provided to employees and applicants, but policies may differ from one employer to the next. An employer can define what actions may occur from the result of a positive drug test as long as a second drug test confirms the positive result.

Can Current Employees Be Tested? Yes, employers that choose to implement a drug-free workplace program can test employees under the following circumstances:

  • unannounced drug or alcohol testing (with some restrictions)
  • post-rehabilitation (returning to work)
  • reasonable suspicion
  • federal law/regulation requirements
  • workplace accident resulting in an injury or property damage (estimated to exceed $1,000)

Is Certified Testing Required? Yes.

Laws§ 730.5

What Can be Tested? Urine, blood, breath, and oral fluid.

How to Conduct a Legal Drug Test

Step 1 – Iowa law does not require employers to gain consent from applicants or employees before performing drug tests. However, having applicants/employees submit a Drug Test Release Form could aid in any future complications concerning employer liability.

Step 2 – Drug tests can be conducted by collecting one (1) of the following specimens from the subject:

  • Urine
  • Blood
  • Breath
  • Oral fluid

Step 3 – To test the specimens, all samples must be brought to a laboratory certified by the Iowa State Department of Health or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A list of SAMHSA certified labs can be found here.

Step 4 – Any positive drug test result must be confirmed by a second drug test. An employer may take adverse action based on this confirmed test. This includes refusing to hire an applicant, termination of a current employee, suspension of a current employee (with or without pay), or ordering an employee to participate in a rehabilitation program.