Return to Duty/Work in a safety sensitive position should follow the protocol set forth by the SAP (Substance Abuse Professional) who provided or prescribed treatment for the policy infraction. This testing/screen should only take place after the employee has completed the prescribed treatment program.
API Global is available to help employers manage and document the program prescribed.
Federally regulated programs under DOT CFR 49 Part 40 will be administered according to the following:
§ 40.305 How does the return-to-duty process conclude?
(a) As the employer, if you decide that you want to permit the employee to return to the performance of safety-sensitive functions, you must ensure that the employee takes a return-to-duty test. This test cannot occur until after the SAP has determined that the employee has successfully complied with prescribed education and/or treatment. The employee must have a negative drug test result and/or an alcohol test with an alcohol concentration of less than 0.02 before resuming performance of safety-sensitive duties.
(b) As an employer, you must not return an employee to safety-sensitive duties until the employee meets the conditions of paragraph (a) of this section. However, you are not required to return an employee to safety-sensitive duties because the employee has met these conditions. That is a personnel decision that you have the discretion to make, subject to collective bargaining agreements or other legal requirements.
(c) As a SAP or MRO, you must not make a “fitness for duty” determination as part of this re-evaluation unless required to do so under an applicable DOT agency regulation. It is the employer, rather than you, who must decide whether to put the employee back to work in a safety-sensitive position.
Here are some examples for your consideration:
The requirements of the SAP’s follow-up testing plan “follow the employee” to subsequent employers or through breaks in service.
Example 1 to Paragraph (e): The employee returns to duty with Employer A. Two months afterward, after completing the first two of six follow-up tests required by the SAP’s plan, the employee quits his job with Employer A and begins to work in a similar position for Employer B. The employee remains obligated to complete the four additional tests during the next 10 months of safety-sensitive duty, and Employer B is responsible for ensuring that the employee does so. Employer B learns of this obligation through the inquiry it makes under §40.25.
Example 2 to Paragraph (e): The employee returns to duty with Employer A. Three months later, after the employee completes the first two of six follow-up tests required by the SAP’s plan, Employer A lays the employee off for economic or seasonal employment reasons. Four months later, Employer A recalls the employee. Employer A must ensure that the employee completes the remaining four follow-up tests during the next nine months.
§ 40.309 What are the employer’s responsibilities with respect to the SAP’s directions for follow-up tests?
(a) As the employer, you must carry out the SAP’s follow-up testing requirements. You may not allow the employee to continue to perform safety-sensitive functions unless follow-up testing is conducted as directed by the SAP.
(b) You should schedule follow-up tests on dates of your own choosing, but you must ensure that the tests are unannounced with no discernable pattern as to their timing, and that the employee is given no advance notice.
(c) You cannot substitute any other tests (e.g., those carried out under the random testing program) conducted on the employee for this follow-up testing requirement.
(d) You cannot count a follow-up test that has been cancelled as a completed test. A cancelled follow-up test must be recollected.
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- DOT Collections; random, post accident, reasonable suspicion, and return to duty
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