BLET among those seeking clarification of new DOT drug testing requirement

Over the past several weeks, the National Division and the National Legislative Office have received numerous inquiries concerning a Final Rule published by the Office of the Secretary of Transportation on June 25, and scheduled to become effective on August 25. The new Final Rule amends certain portions of DOT's Procedures for Transportation Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs published at 49 CFR Part 40.

Of particular concern is new Section 40.67(b), which would require that railroads - among others - "must direct a [urine] collection under direct observation of an employee if the drug test is a return-to-duty test or a follow-up test." The new direct observation standard set forth at Section 40.67(i) requires railroads to "request the employee to raise his or her shirt, blouse, or dress/skirt, as appropriate, above the waist; and lower clothing and underpants to show , by turning around, that they do not have a prosthetic device [that could be used to deliver a substituted urine specimen]." After the railroad has "determined that the employee does not have such a device, [it] may permit the employee to return clothing to its proper position for observed urination."

It is the position of the BLET that the "return-to-duty" and "follow-up" tests referenced in the Final Rule are limited to those that are required subsequent to either a positive or an invalid drug test. However, the Final Rule is less than clear in identifying that these are the only tests to which the new requirements apply.

"The possibility that a BLET member who has a clean drug testing record could potentially be exposed to an outrageous violation of his or her privacy is intolerable," BLET National President Ed Rodzwicz said. "We have been in consultation with other affected Labor Organizations, federal officials, and other interested parties, and we intend to have this question clarified long before the Final Rule takes effect. We also are reviewing the Final Rule in its entirety and considering what other options may be available to us."

Additional information concerning this critical issue will be provided as it becomes available.

 

 

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