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Drug Testing Policies: Requirements Outlined by Federal Law

There is no comprehensive federal law that regulates drug testing in the private sector, and non-union employers are generally permitted to require applicants and/or employees to take drug tests. However, there are several federal laws applicable to typical drug and/or alcohol testing policies that a company must adhere to.


Drug-free Workplace Act


The Drug-free Workplace Act applies to certain federal contractors and all federal grantees and requires maintenance of a drug-free workplace as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Though the Act does not require drug testing, there are several provisions that covered federal contractors and grantees must follow.

Since the Act applies to each contract or grant on a case-by-case basis, is the Department of Labor (DOL) encourages employers to use the Advisor to determine their coverage under the Act (and related requirements).


Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act


The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires employers who engage in for-hire or private truck or bus operations to conduct mandatory drug and/or alcohol testing of their interstate and intrastate commercial motor vehicle drivers. The DOT published a final rule modifying the drug testing panel and removing the blind specimen testing requirement, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Employers that are subject to DOT drug testing standards must ensure that their drug testing policies comply with these revised standards.

Under the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act, commercial motor vehicle drivers are prohibited from driving or performing any tasks that are safety-sensitive when they have used drugs or alcohol, tested positive, or refused to take a drug and/or alcohol test. This applies to any truck driver who must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a vehicle weighing at least 26,000 pounds, vehicles used to transport hazardous materials, or buses used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations for these employees.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


Under the ADA, those currently engaging in the use of illegal drugs are excluded from protections as “qualified individuals with disabilities.” Drug addicts, however, do qualify if they have been successfully rehabilitated, or are participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and are not currently using illegal drugs. Therefore, only those who are currently using drugs may be denied employment or terminated. Alcoholics, on the other hand, may not There is no comprehensive federal law that regulates drug testing in the private sector, and non-union employers are generally permitted to require applicants and/or employees to take drug tests. However, there are several federal laws applicable to typical drug and/or alcohol testing policies which a company must adhere to.


Drug-free Workplace Act


The Drug-free Workplace Act applies to certain federal contractors and all federal grantees, and requires maintenance of a drug-free workplace as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a federal agency. Though the Act does not require drug testing, there are several provisions that covered federal contractors and grantees must follow.

Since the Act applies to each contract or grant on a case-by-case basis, is the Department of Labor (DOL) encourages employers to use the Advisor to determine their coverage under the Act (and related requirements).


Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act


The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires employers who engage in for-hire or private truck or bus operations to conduct mandatory drug and/or alcohol testing of their interstate and intrastate commercial motor vehicle drivers. The DOT published a final rule modifying the drug testing panel and removing the blind specimen testing requirement, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Employers that are subject to DOT drug testing standards must ensure that their drug testing policies comply with these revised standards.

Under the Omnibus Transportation Employees Testing Act, commercial motor vehicle drivers are prohibited from driving or performing any tasks that are safety-sensitive when they have used drugs or alcohol, tested positive, or refused to take a drug and/or alcohol test. This applies to any truck driver who must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate a vehicle weighing at least 26,000 pounds, vehicles used to transport hazardous materials, or buses used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver). The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) establishes drug and alcohol testing rules and regulations for these employees.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


Under the ADA, those currently engaging in the use of illegal drugs are excluded from protections as “qualified individuals with disabilities.” Drug addicts, however, do qualify if they have been successfully rehabilitated, or are participating in a supervised rehabilitation program and are not currently using illegal drugs. Therefore, only those who are currently using drugs may be denied employment or terminated. Alcoholics, on the other hand, may not.



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