Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations require employers to administer drug and alcohol testing to employees or applicants who operate or who will operate commercial motor vehicles. Employers must conduct pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing.
The DOT issued a new regulation today requiring that urine samples for return-to-duty and follow-up testing be submitted under “direct observation.” The regulation was announced last August but, after complaints from the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trade Department, the DOT delayed the implementation of the new rules. (See DOT Delays Implementation of New Drug-and-Alcohol-Testing Procedures). The regulation eventually was challenged but recently upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The regulation, effective August 31, 2009, requires a same-gender observer to “watch the urine go from the employee’s body into the collection container.” To comply, employees must raise their shirts above the waist and lower their clothing so as to expose their genitals and allow the observers to verify the absence of any devices that would permit the employee to cheat the test.
Both return-to-duty and follow-up testing involve employees who are returning to safety-sensitive duties after failing or refusing to take a drug test. A copy of the DOT’s new regulation is here.
Employers should review their DOT drug and alcohol testing programs to ensure compliance with this new requirement.