FTA Explains the Difference Between Saying No and a Refusal To Test

In their most recent newsletter the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) offered clarification regarding  a “refusal to test” on a pre-employment drug screen.  The article stated thatall persons applying for or being transferred to a safety sensitive position under the FTA are required to submit to  pre-employment drug screening.  Prior to the test, employers are required to inform the applicant in writing about the testing requirements (§ 655.17).  Applicants may decide to withdraw from the hiring process before the test commences without being considered to have refused the test .  However, once  the applicant chooses to go forward with the test, he or she must complete the testing process.

A pre-employment test begins the moment the donor receives the sealed collection container as per Part 40.63(d).  For best practices, it is recommended that employers explain the testing process and time commitment required so that scheduling conflicts do not interfere with the screening.  Leaving early or “opting out” after a DOT mandated pre-employment drug test has begun is considered a “refusal to test.”

Pre-employment testing for alcohol is not required by the FTA.  However, employers are allowed to test for alcohol if it is believed to be in the best interest of public safety and the transit system.  Employers that choose to conduct pre-employment alcohol screenings must follow procedures in §655.42 and Part 40 Subparts J-N.

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