Return-To-Duty Testing

DOT Return-to-duty testing happens after an employee has failed a drug or alcohol test by testing positive, refusing to get tested, or violating other drug and alcohol policies. Return-to-duty tests and follow-up drug tests are applicable to return-to-duty, safety-sensitive transportation industry employees - truck and bus drivers, train engineers, pilots, subway operators, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel - among others.

Employers have the option of offering the employee who has failed or refused a test or violated drug and alcohol policies their job back - provided that specific regulations and the DOT-mandated process for testing is followed. 

There are return-to-duty alcohol tests and return-to-duty controlled substances tests. The alcohol test must come back with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02. A return-to-duty controlled substances test (DOT drug test) will need to come back with a verified negative result.

The DOT Return-To-Duty Process

In order for the return-to-duty testing to be considered valid, the employee who has met the criteria requiring such testing must follow a specific order of steps before becoming eligible for the testing itself. 

In-Person Meeting With a Substance Abuse Professional

First, the employee must receive a list of qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and meet in-person for an evaluation. This meeting will be documented by the SAP in an evaluation that is then sent to the employer along with recommended education and/or treatment if that is deemed necessary. 

Complete the Recommendations

The SAP may recommend counseling or treatment options that the employee will have to complete before they can move on with the process of returning to duty. 

Follow-Up Meeting to Determine Next Steps

Next, a follow-up, in-person meeting with the SAP will get scheduled, and the SAP will decide if the employee has finished all of their recommendations – the education, treatment, etc. If he/she is satisfied, they will write another report for the employer to let them know if the employee has been successful.

Administering the Return-To-Duty Test

Once the treatment and/or educational courses have been deemed successful by the SAP, it will be time for the employee to take the return-to-duty test. The urine collection will need to be given under direct observation by a member of the same sex as the employee. This is done to check for prosthetic and other devices that could be used to cheat the drug test - subsequently, the observer must witness the employee urinate into the collection receptacle. The urine test must come back with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02, and the drug test must be negative (and verified).

The employer will receive the return-to-duty test results and decide if the employee can return to their job. Even if the employee goes back to their role, the SAP may request follow-up drug and/or alcohol testing (with direct observation) as part of their final recommendation.

Call Test Smartly Labs for Your DOT Return-To-Duty Test Needs in North Kansas City

Test Smartly Labs is equipped to help you run a return-to-duty test, to get started contact us.