Iowa Will Permit Employers to Have a Lower Standard For Positive Alcohol Tests July 1, 2018

Russ Samson, Iowa Employment and Labor Law, Dickinson Law Firm Des Moines Iowa

Posted on 04/04/2018 at 02:57 PM by Russell Samson

Iowa’s statute regulating drug and alcohol testing for private sector employers establishes a number of different requirements for employers that want to conduct alcohol or drug testing of applicants or employees.  A uniform requirement is that all testing be done pursuant to a written policy that has been provided in advance to every employee subject to testing, and is available for review by applicants and employees.  If an Iowa employer wants to conduct alcohol testing, the statute requires that the written policy specify the standard or level of alcohol concentration for a positive result, and that it be expressed in terms of grams of alcohol per two hundred ten liters of breath, or its equivalent.  Since the current law was first enacted, an Iowa employer – regardless of industry or of the nature of a job – could not establish a positive alcohol test at a concentration of less than .04. 

On Wednesday, March 28, 2018, Governor Kim Reynolds signed House File 2383, which will amend Iowa Code Section 730.5(9)(e) to lower the minimum level of alcohol concentration Iowa’s private employers can use for a positive alcohol test from .04 to .02 grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath (or its equivalent). 

The amendment will become effective July 1, 2018.   

In 2017, Iowa’s private sector drug testing law was amended to modify the date of federal regulations that are to be referenced in written drug and alcohol testing policies.  If you are an Iowa employer conducting alcohol testing, and did not amend your written policy in 2017 to account for that change, you now have two reasons to review your written policy.

The material in this blog is not intended, nor should it be construed or relied upon, as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney if specific legal information is needed. 

- Russ Samson


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