OUTLINE OF THE PROCESS
DOT's return-to-duty process is explained here. The process itself is lengthy and involved. An employee who has been removed from duty because of a violation must successfully complete this process before he/she can be considered for return to duty or be hired by a different DOT-covered employer.
What is the DOT return-to-duty process?
A positive test is a violation. So also is a refusal to be tested.
So are a number of other things that are prohibited by DOT.
When an employee has a positive test or refuses to be tested or
has one of DOT's other violations, DOT requires the employer to
immediately remove that employee from safety-sensitive functions.
An employer who allows an employee with a violation to continue
performing safety-sensitive functions is subject to fines, up to
$10,000 per day.
An employee who has a violation has two options.
1) He/she can find another job, outside of the transportation industry.
2) He/she can be considered for returning to safety-sensitive functions
in the transportation industry, but only after successfully completing
DOT’s return-to-duty process, and then providing a negative
result on a return-to-duty drug and/or alcohol testing.
The return-to-duty process requires involvement of a qualified
and trained Substance Abuse Professional, or a SAP.
The SAP must conduct a face-to-face clinical evaluation of the
employee. DOT’s rule then requires the SAP
to recommend treatment and/or education for the employee.
The SAP must send a report to the employer, specifying the SAP's
recommendation for treatment and/or education.
The SAP must then monitor the employee’s progress in the
recommended program of treatment and/or education.
When the SAP determines that the employee has made sufficient progress,
the SAP will schedule a Follow-Up evaluation for the employee.
Based on that evaluation, the SAP will report to the employer that
the employee has successfully complied with the SAP's recommendation
(or that the employee has not complied.)
If the SAP reports that the employee has successfully complied
with the recommendation, the employer will decide whether to arrange
for a return-to-duty test for the employee. (The employer is not
obligated to take the employee back.)
If the SAP reports that the employee has not successfully complied
with the recommendation, the employer cannot return to the employee
to safety-sensitive functions.
An employee who has not successfully complied with the SAP's recommendation
may not return to safety-sensitive functions for any DOT employer
until the SAP's recommendations have been fully met, and the employee
is able to provide a negative return-to-duty test.
For additional information, go to:
Questions for Employers