In 2008, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) changed its regulations for drug testing to include direct observation of return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests.
DOT regulations require random drug testing of urine for commercial motor-vehicle drivers, and pipeline, airline, transit and marine employees.
Direct observation means the employee must raise his or her shirt, blouse, dress or skirt above the waist and lower pants and undergarments to show the collector that he or she is not wearing a prosthetic device.
Employees who fail drug tests or refuse to take them must complete an evaluation and treatment program before they can resume their duties. The return-to-duty examination occurs following the program to ensure the employee is drug free. After passing the return-to-duty examination, the employee is on probation for a year during which he or she must pass at least six unannounced follow-up examinations.
A legal challenge has prevented the policy from being implemented, but in June the U.S. Court of Appeals dismissed all legal challenges to the new regulation. During the challenge, direct observation was optional. Now it is mandatory.
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