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Federal Court Lifts Stay on DOT Direct Observation Drug Testing Rule

    Client Alerts
  • July 17, 2009

On July 1, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its final decision in a case challenging the Department of Transportation's regulation requiring direct observation of urine sampling in some cases.  The rules require employers or their collection agents to observe the samples of drivers who return to work after failing a previous test, or refusing to take a required drug test.  The rules were challenged on privacy grounds, but the court supported DOT's view that technology for cheating on drug tests through substitution of "clean" urine has become a safety threat.

After the final decision was issued, DOT announced that it will soon publish a date by which mandatory observations must begin.  In the meantime, DOT stated that employers can immediately begin observing return to work tests if they so choose.