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Types of Tests:
* Pre-employment drug and alcohol testing
* Random drug and alcohol testing
* Post accident drug and alcohol testing
* Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing
* Return to duty drug and alcohol testing
* Follow up drug and alcohol testing
Pre-Employment Drug Testing:
The increased danger of working in an environment where drug use may be present has led to a growing acceptance of pre-employment drug testing. In general, courts have approved testing at the application stage (even with collective bargaining agreements in place) because testing is consensual. Employers have a legitimate interest in not hiring individuals whose drug abuse may render them unable to perform satisfactorily on the job and the testing is directly related to the ability to perform the job.
DOT regulations state that; prior to the first time an individual performs safety-sensitive functions for an employer, the individual shall undergo testing for controlled substances as a condition prior to being used. No employer shall allow an individual, who the employer intends to hire or use, to perform safety-sensitive functions unless the employer has received a controlled substances test result from the MRO or C/TPA indicating a verified negative test result for that individual.
Pre-Employment Alcohol Testing:
Optional but not Required.
Random Drug & Alcohol Testing:
DOT employers are responsible for conducting random, unannounced, drug & alcohol tests. The total number of random tests conducted each year varies between agencies. The goal of random testing is to
1. Discourage substance use and abuse by making testing unpredictable
2. Identify current substance users and abusers
Post-Accident Drug & Alcohol Testing:
As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving an accident, each employer shall test for drug & alcohol for each of its surviving employees who were performing safety-sensitive functions. The criteria for post accident testing regulated by the DOT is as follows:
Urine drug test collected within 32 hours
Alcohol test performed as soon as possible within 2 hours. If alcohol test cannot be completed within 8 hours the organization must document the reason testing could not be performed.
Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing:
An employer shall require an employee to submit to a controlled substances test when the employer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the employee has violated the prohibitions concerning controlled substances. The employer's determination that reasonable suspicion exists to require the driver to undergo a controlled substances test must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odors of the driver. The observations may include indications of the chronic and withdrawal effects of controlled substances.
Reasonable Suspicion Alcohol Testing:
An employer shall require an employee to submit to an alcohol test when the employer has reasonable suspicion to believe that the employee has violated the prohibitions concerning alcohol. The employer's determination that reasonable suspicion exists to require the driver to undergo an alcohol test must be based on specific, contemporaneous, articulable observations concerning the appearance, behavior, speech or body odors of the driver.
Important Notice: The required observations for drug and/or alcohol reasonable suspicion testing shall be made by a supervisor or company official who is trained in accordance with DOT regulations. Supervisor training is a DOT mandatory requirement.
Return To Duty Testing:
An employee who has had a positive test either for drugs or alcohol and has been deemed positive by a Medical Review Officer (MRO), must submit to an evaluation by a certified Substance Abuse Professional and have an observed collection return to duty test before he/she may be returned to his/her position to ensure that the individual is free from drugs or alcohol.
Follow Up Testing:
Because studies have shown that the relapse rate is highest during the first year of recovery, the employee returning to duty will be subject to observed collection follow-up testing which is separate and apart from the random testing obligation. The employee will be subject to a minimum of six unannounced follow up drug/alcohol tests during the first year back to the safety-sensitive function position following the violation.