Q. Is it true that someone now has to watch my employees give urine specimens as part of DOT drug and alcohol testing?
A. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued regulations that require any employee in a safety-sensitive position in the aviation, motor carrier, rail transit, maritime and pipeline industries who previously tested positive for prohibited drugs to give urine specimens only while being watched by specimen collectors.
The rule also requires employees to raise their shirts or blouses above their waists and lower their pants and undergarments and turn around to show the observer that they do not have a prosthetic device on their bodies. The DOT claims this rule is necessary because there are a “wide variety of products for adulteration of urine” and “various mechanical devices are now readily available to individuals who want to adulterate or substitute their urine specimens during a drug testing collection.”
Last month, however, a federal court delayed the mandatory direct observation until the conclusion of litigation challenging the new rules. The stay does not affect the right of any employer to direct collection under direct observation for return-to-duty or a follow-up test. The DOT recommends this action.
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