A recent Iowa Supreme Court case, McVey v. National Organization Service, Inc., stresses the importance of developing a drug-testing policy that complies with Iowa law and making sure that policy is delivered to each employee.
McVey lost her job after testing positive for marijuana during a random test. The employer notified her over the phone and she did not return to work. Depsite testing postitive, McVey filed a wrongful termination lawsuit seeking damages and also reinstatement. The trial court dismissed her claim and she appealed.
McVey and her attorney, Mark Hedberg, made two arguments. First, that McVey did not receive a copy of the the company’s drug-testing policy. Second, the written policy was not adequate to meet Iowa’s statutory requirements.
The Court agreed with McVey. The Court ruled the requirement that the employer adopt an employee drug-testing policy and deliver it to each employee is a necessary step in invoking the statutory authorization for employee drug-testing. The Court said that even if McVey had received a copy of the employer’s policy, the policy submitted did not meet the detailed requirements of Iowa law because it did not set forth what disciplinary or rehabilitation actions the employer shall take against the employee upon receipt of a confirmed positive test.
Here are some suggested preventative measures in order to avoid some of the pitfalls of Iowa’s drug-testing law:
1) Make sure your policy complies with Iowa and federal law;
2) DO NOT assume your DOT/CDL drug-testing policy will satisfy the state law;
3) Periodically review your drug-testing policy to make sure it is compliant with state and federal laws through a human resource audit;
4) If you have any questions please be sure to contact your attorney.
Also, make sure to see my post on drug testing from April 29, 2006 before the recent decision.