from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Jeanie K.
Woods appeals the district court's order dismissing his
petition asserting his employment was wrongfully terminated
because his former employer violated Iowa's private
sector employee drug-and-alcohol-testing statute, Iowa Code
section 730.5 (2017). AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN
PART, AND REMANDED.
C. Erbe of Erbe Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant.
R. Hinchliff and Steven H. Shindler of Shindler, Anderson,
Goplerud & Weese, P.C., West Des Moines, for appellee.
by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Gabus Ford, Inc. (Gabus Ford) fired Lucas Woods after he
failed an employee drug test. Woods filed a petition at law
asserting he was wrongfully terminated because Gabus Ford
violated Iowa Code section 730.5 (2017)-Iowa's private
sector employee drug-and-alcohol-testing statute. After a
bench trial, the district court dismissed Woods's
appeals, challenging the district court's ruling in three
respects. He asserts Gabus Ford violated section 730.5
because it did not: (1) send its certified mailing of the
post-test notice return receipt requested as required in
subsection (7)(j)(1); (2) establish it complied with the
supervisory personnel training described in subsection
(9)(h); and (3) include in its notice to Woods the cost of a
confirmatory drug test as required in subsection (7)(j)(1).
Upon our review of the record, we find no reversible error in
Woods's first two claims. But we agree Gabus Ford's
failure to include the cost of the confirmatory drug test in
its post-test notice to Woods violated the statute. So we
reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Standard of Review.
parties agree our review is for correction of errors at law.
See Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; Sims v. NCI
Holding Corp., 759 N.W.2d 333, 337 (Iowa 2009). We will
affirm the district court's findings of fact if they are
supported by substantial evidence. Iowa R. App. P.
6.904(3)(a). "Evidence is substantial if a reasonable
mind would accept the evidence as adequate to reach the same
findings." Sims, 759 N.W.2d at 337.
private sector employee drug-and-alcohol-testing statute,
section 730.5, was enacted "in response to a widespread
belief that employers have the right to expect a drug-free
work place and should be able to require employees to take
steps to insure it." Anderson v. Warren Distrib.
Co., 469 N.W.2d 687, 689 (Iowa 1991). The statute allows
private sector employers to take disciplinary action against
employees who test positive or refuse to test, including
termination of their employment. Iowa Code §
Although the legislature now allows random workplace drug
testing, it does so under severely circumscribed conditions
designed to ensure accurate testing and to protect employees
from unfair and unwarranted discipline. The importance of
these protections, including the procedural safeguards
contained in section 730.5(7), is highlighted by the
statutory provision making an employer "who violates
this section . . . liable to an aggrieved employee . . . for
affirmative relief including reinstatement . . . or any other
equitable relief as the court deems appropriate." Iowa
Code § 730.5(15). Although an employer is entitled to
have a drug free workplace, it would be contrary to the
spirit of Iowa's drug testing law if we were to allow
employers to ignore the protections afforded by this statute,
yet gain the advantage of using a test that did not comport
with the law to support a denial of unemployment
Harrison v. Emp't Appeal Bd., 659
N.W.2d 581, 588 (Iowa 2003). An employer's failure to
comply with those detailed statutory protections in section
730.5 "create[s] a cause of action in favor of one who
has been injured by [the employer's] failure."
McVey v. Nat'l Org. Serv.,
Inc., 719 N.W.2d 801, 803 (Iowa 2006). As a result,
a private employee can be discharged from employment
"based on an employee drug-testing program only if ...