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Many employees and employers who are required to follow the DOT-Department of Transportation regulations don’t fully understand the consequences of what happens if an employee fails a Federal DOT drug or alcohol test. This includes all test types under the 49 CFR Part 40 Department of Transportation regulations.

Some employers believe, a retest is only required, and others don’t have any idea. And yet, the DOT regulations clearly state employers and employees who test under federal regulations are required to know.

So, for those federally regulated employers and employees, here is some important information for you to know.

The following situations constitute a failed test:

1. A verified positive DOT drug test result.
2. A verified adulterated or substituted DOT drug test result. This is a considered a refusal to test and is treated the same as a positive test result.
3. An employee who refuses to complete a federal DOT drug or alcohol test per 49 CFR Part 40.191.

So, what does happen if you fail a DOT drug or alcohol test?

The consequences of a positive DOT drug or alcohol test are extensive and expensive.

First, the employer must immediately remove the employee from the safety sensitive position.
The employer can terminate the employee based on their company drug policy. However, the employer must first refer the employee to a certified Substance Abuse Professional, per Sub-part O of the 49 CF Part 40.23 DOT regulations.

The employee must successfully complete the return-to-duty process of the above regulation before performing a safety sensitive function for any DOT-Department of Transportation employer.

The return-to-duty process includes the employee meeting with the Substance Abuse Professional and following the plan required by the SAP. These programs can be pricey and range form $400-$600 dollars.

The SAP will send an initial assessment to the employer who referred the employee with requirements for the employee to complete prior to the employee completing the return-to-duty process. After the employee completes the requirements set by the Substance Abuse Professional, the SAP sends a final report to the employer  The report includes permission to complete the return-to-duty DOT drug or alcohol test, and, a follow-up drug/and or alcohol testing program. The employer must receive an observed Return- to- Duty test before the employee can perform any DOT safety sensitive position.

If the employee was terminated, then the employee is required to advise their next federally regulated employer of the positive test in their previous employment. If the employer decides to hire them, then the new employer must implement the return-duty and follow up testing program.

The employee cannot do their return-to-duty and follow up program until they are hired with a DOT Agency employer. They also are not entitled to have a copy of the follow up testing program. The new employer is required to obtain the report from the Substance Abuse Professional.

For more information, please call our team at 530-832-4100.