Reasonable Suspicion Testing

A reasonable suspicion test is performed when supervisors have an indication or reasonable cause to suspect an employee of drug and/or alcohol use. The indication is based upon direct observation, either by a supervisor or another employee. Reasons for reasonable suspicion testing include physical signs of illegal substance use, abnormal behavior, confusion and an inability to complete routine tasks.

Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing should be a part of your company’s policy. All supervisory managers should receive a minimum of two (2) hours of training on reasonable suspicion signs, symptoms and documentation. Regular training is suggested to keep managers educated and prepared for when the need arises. Noble Diagnostics offers reasonable suspicion training via online or in person.

Decisions should always be made based on current symptoms.

Observations may happen just before, during or just after the employee is working. If the employee’s previous symptoms have been documented, include that information in the current documented observation is acceptable. However, in the absence of current signs and symptoms, a reasonable suspicion drug test would generally not be helpful on a past incident. Evaluate the current signs and symptoms and document them accordantly.

For example, John came to work today late. He clocked in and then fell asleep in the break room. When I woke him up, he was not startled to see me. He looked at me and went back to sleep. There was a strong odor of alcohol.

It is strongly encouraged that at least two (2) supervisory personnel work together if there is reasonable suspicion for a drug test. This protects both the supervisor and the employee. Drug and alcohol testing should be done quickly after removing the employee from responsibility.

If the drug or alcohol test is not collected on-site, contact Noble Diagnostics 24/7 to schedule the test. Noble Diagnostics can come to the facility within a 60-mile range. If the facility is further than 60 miles Noble Diagnostics will find a mobile collector, and they will come to the facility. If no mobile collector is available Noble Diagnostics will find a clinic to have the drug test performed at, and the supervisor will need to drive the employee that is under reasonable suspicion to the clinic. The employee under suspicion should not be allowed to drive themselves to the collection site (or elsewhere) without a negative drug test result.

Reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing plays an important role in helping to create and maintain a drug-free workplace. When the test is appropriately overseen, it is a fair and reliable testing method that can help to both dissuade and detect drug and alcohol use. Indications that reasonable suspicion reasons to test exist include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • The odor of alcohol on the body or breath

  • Slurred speech

  • Unsteady standing or walking

  • Inability or difficulty completing routine tasks

  • Disorientation or confusion

  • Erratic or unusual behavior

Noble Diagnostics offers reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing. The course will provide the required information in video format as stipulated by 49 CFR Parts 40 and 219 of the Federal Registry.

The following information will be addressed in this course:

  • General Effects of Drugs & Alcohol in the workplace

  • The duties of the employees who are subject to the program.

  • Definition of a Safety-Sensitive Employee

  • Employer, Supervisor, and Employee Responsibilities

  • Information on the effects of alcohol on a person’s health, work, and personal life

  • Information on the effects of drugs on a person’s health, work, and personal life

  • Employee conduct that is prohibited by the regulations.

  • The drug screen collection process

  • An explanation of what constitutes a refusal to test.

  • An explanation of the consequences of refusing a test.

  • Definition of an MRO, DER, and SAP

  • When and under what circumstances employees will be tested.

  • The consequences of violating the DOT rules.

  • The signs and symptoms of drug use and alcohol misuse.

  • Proper management & documentation of constructive employee confrontations

Drug testing helps to improve employee morale and productivity while decreasing absenteeism, accidents, downtime, turnover, and theft. Noble Diagnostics understands that every business and workforce is unique, every employer should make a careful decision about drug and alcohol testing programs that are beneficial for the workplace.