Employer Ordered Non-DOT Reasonable Suspicion Should Have Been DOT Reasonable Suspicion

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Utility Mechanic's Comment
member avatar

I have a CDL and am a DOT covered employee. My former employer ordered a non-DOT Reasonable Suspicion drug test because I had experienced some bizarre events out in the field. I worked for a city Water Dept and random people were sitting in their vehicle idling and doing paperwork behind my truck while I exercised a valve. When I finished that valve and went to the next valve a different vehicle would pull up behind me with their car idling doing paperwork. This continued for several days with 8-10 different vehicles each day, then the next day same thing. It was very odd and unnerving. I had asked my supervisor if work was having me followed and was told no. The next time I reported these bizarre events, my keys were taken from me and I was told to report back to the yard in the morning and they would find something for me to do.

I reported back the next morning and was taken to Occupational Health and given a Observed (not the invasive Direct Observation version that I would learn about later, just observed)Reasonable Suspicion drug test which I tested positive because I had taken some ADHD pills a friend had given me after I told him what was going on at work. He was concerned, I would lose my job, because what I was describing sounded crazy to him. I did not ever consider that an ADHD pill would be something I could test positive for. I knew that I might be drug tested that following day but never considered I would test positive.

My former employer confused the alcohol requirements of Reasonable Suspicion that requires testing just before, during, or immediately after safety sensitive duties. The controlled substances requirements for Reasonable Suspicion are anytime, which is why my test should have been DOT.

My Reasonable Suspicion worksheet has none of the 38 possible symptoms checked off. There is just a comment from a supervisor that I have been experiencing paranoia for 2 weeks. The worksheet is also unsigned and undated.

I had to go thru the Return To Duty process and was tested before I returned to work. It was also observed but again not the Direct Observation version. I was negative and back to work.

I received a call about 1 month later to report for a Follow up test. This is where I was asked to lower my pants, raise my shirt, and turn around. I refused. I asked why this was not asked of me before, Ive never even heard of this type of procedure.

I was terminated for refusing a DOT Follow up drug test. That is what is written on my termination letter and 2 other letters from different people in management.

The non-DOT Reasonable Suspicion test morphed into a DOT Reasonable Suspicion test. I appealed my termination and lost. They said the DOT reference in my termination letter was a typo. I said, but thats what the GM used to fire me.

I am aware that if a DOT test is submitted on non Federal CCF and not corrected the test must be cancelled and no consequences of a positive test can be applied.

I have the non-DOT CCF used for my Reasonable Suspicion test and I know the test should have been DOT. My question is if a non-DOT test was given when a DOT test was required. Would the test still need to be cancelled?

I have had a heck of a time trying to find an answer to this question and would greatly appreciate any of your thoughts.

Thanks for reading

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Old School's Comment
member avatar
My question is if a non-DOT test was given when a DOT test was required. Would the test still need to be cancelled?

Since you not only sound paranoid, but also like a "jail house attorney," I assume you have been all over the internet trying to figure out how you can get all this mess suppressed and behind you. Stop wasting your time and move on. I realize few people in the work force these days were taught about consequences from their parents. You just got a valuable lesson in the realities of life.

I was terminated for refusing a DOT Follow up drug test.

That's the same as failing the drug test. You really screwed yourself in several ways. First you did something no sane person would do...

I had taken some ADHD pills a friend had given me after I told him what was going on at work. He was concerned, I would lose my job, because what I was describing sounded crazy to him.

Wow Dude! What were you thinking? Did you really think those pills would make the black helicopters following you around go away? That was a bad move on your part that has consequences. Now you know that it's best to get your prescriptions from someone with "M.D." letters after their name.

Second, you refuse to accept responsibility.

You are still trying to figure out some way to blame your employer for using a wrong form or not filling some form out correctly when you were the one making all the wrong moves. That shows an incredible depth of inability to accept responsibility for your errors. That's your biggest problem here. You screwed up. You are experiencing consequences. You could have avoided all this by doing what they requested.

There is no distinction I know of concerning invasive or non-invasive D.O.T. drug testing. I looked it up and can't find anything but some other paranoid types on the internet who use those terms. I suppose if they draw blood for a drug test that could be considered invasive, but a D.O.T. test is urine only at this time.

If they wanted you to...

lower my pants, raise my shirt, and turn around.

They were probably wanting to confirm you didn't have a bag of someone else's urine on you before they got you to pee in a cup. You refused and now you have so much time on your hands you can act like a private investigator researching ways to get this dark cloud off of your back.

I'm sorry this happened to you, but you have got to man up and realize you messed up big time. Move on, and try to be a little smarter now.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Utility Mechanic's Comment
member avatar

You are absolutely correct in pointing out my mistake in accepting meds not prescribed for me. Very poor judgement on my part.

DOT has one observation procedure known as Direct Observation which requires lowering pants and underwear to the knees, raising shirt above navel and turning completely around so the observer can check for a prosthetic device. This procedure is authorized for Return To Duty and Follow up drug tests only. It is not authorized for Reasonable Suspicion drug tests which my former employer required of me. I was not asked to lower, lift and turn around for the first 2 drug tests and when it was asked of me on the 3rd drug test I refused because it seemed extremely invasive and had not been asked of me previously, plus, it was for a non-DOT test according to my paperwork.

This same Direct Observation procedure was not asked nor required of several coworkers, effectively holding me to a different standard.

Appreciate your thoughts.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

If you had nothing to conceal, why not just do as asked?

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

As CDL holders we are held to higher standards for public safety.

I agree with Old School here. Sorry, but after giving them reason to believe you were on drugs, you failed a drug test. Think of it this way... The first guy may have been like "I'll test him but he will probably be negative." Then you tested positive because you ILLEGALLY ingested a controlled substance after an illegal exchange aka drug trafficking. The positive result gave them more reason to doubt you and anything you say, and gave them suspicion.

Honestly, I would have been jumping through any hoops they gave me to prove i was clean and sober. Especially being a CDL holder and the tough rules.

You sound like you are trying the "I'm being discriminated against" argument. That doesn't fly on this forum.

If you are so concerned about papers and wording... Go get a lawyer. Good luck

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
The Pelican's Comment
member avatar

In instances where a Non-DOT form is used for a DOT collection, the error can be corrected via collector affidavit. This usually occurs after the collection has been performed.

All RTD & FU tests must be observed per DOT regulation. Observation means that you lower your pants and underwear to mid thigh and lift shirt up so collector can inspect your front and back. This is the DOT regulation. A refusal is essentially as bad as a positive. Those who are positive or refuse will have to go through a SAP program per DOT guidelines. A company is well within their rights to terminate someone for this reason.

Don't waste your time with a lawyer. This is airtight.

I have a CDL and am a DOT covered employee. My former employer ordered a non-DOT Reasonable Suspicion drug test because I had experienced some bizarre events out in the field. I worked for a city Water Dept and random people were sitting in their vehicle idling and doing paperwork behind my truck while I exercised a valve. When I finished that valve and went to the next valve a different vehicle would pull up behind me with their car idling doing paperwork. This continued for several days with 8-10 different vehicles each day, then the next day same thing. It was very odd and unnerving. I had asked my supervisor if work was having me followed and was told no. The next time I reported these bizarre events, my keys were taken from me and I was told to report back to the yard in the morning and they would find something for me to do.

I reported back the next morning and was taken to Occupational Health and given a Observed (not the invasive Direct Observation version that I would learn about later, just observed)Reasonable Suspicion drug test which I tested positive because I had taken some ADHD pills a friend had given me after I told him what was going on at work. He was concerned, I would lose my job, because what I was describing sounded crazy to him. I did not ever consider that an ADHD pill would be something I could test positive for. I knew that I might be drug tested that following day but never considered I would test positive.

My former employer confused the alcohol requirements of Reasonable Suspicion that requires testing just before, during, or immediately after safety sensitive duties. The controlled substances requirements for Reasonable Suspicion are anytime, which is why my test should have been DOT.

My Reasonable Suspicion worksheet has none of the 38 possible symptoms checked off. There is just a comment from a supervisor that I have been experiencing paranoia for 2 weeks. The worksheet is also unsigned and undated.

I had to go thru the Return To Duty process and was tested before I returned to work. It was also observed but again not the Direct Observation version. I was negative and back to work.

I received a call about 1 month later to report for a Follow up test. This is where I was asked to lower my pants, raise my shirt, and turn around. I refused. I asked why this was not asked of me before, Ive never even heard of this type of procedure.

I was terminated for refusing a DOT Follow up drug test. That is what is written on my termination letter and 2 other letters from different people in management.

The non-DOT Reasonable Suspicion test morphed into a DOT Reasonable Suspicion test. I appealed my termination and lost. They said the DOT reference in my termination letter was a typo. I said, but thats what the GM used to fire me.

I am aware that if a DOT test is submitted on non Federal CCF and not corrected the test must be cancelled and no consequences of a positive test can be applied.

I have the non-DOT CCF used for my Reasonable Suspicion test and I know the test should have been DOT. My question is if a non-DOT test was given when a DOT test was required. Would the test still need to be cancelled?

I have had a heck of a time trying to find an answer to this question and would greatly appreciate any of your thoughts.

Thanks for reading

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

BMI:

Body mass index (BMI)

BMI is a formula that uses weight and height to estimate body fat. For most people, BMI provides a reasonable estimate of body fat. The BMI's biggest weakness is that it doesn't consider individual factors such as bone or muscle mass. BMI may:

  • Underestimate body fat for older adults or other people with low muscle mass
  • Overestimate body fat for people who are very muscular and physically fit

It's quite common, especially for men, to fall into the "overweight" category if you happen to be stronger than average. If you're pretty strong but in good shape then pay no attention.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Pelican, Kearsey’s lawyer suggestion was sarcasm.

Any return to duty drug test must be observed. Pelican is 100% correct.

Here is the FMCSA language supporting it:

DOT Return To Duty Drug Test

Amazing how smart the OP was “after” he killed his career…

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Pelican, Kearsey’s lawyer suggestion was sarcasm.

rofl-2.gif rofl-3.gif rofl-1.gif

Yeah. I usually say "yeah good luck with that".... even have it on t shirts

Thanks G Town.

I love when someone who refuses to do their own job properly always finds fault with others as this OP

I swear I am going to make some videos about the topics we get here lol

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

Some of the specific ones you could make into a series of episodes:

"Company Forced Me To Fail Drug Test!"

"Company Expects Me To Pay For Damage I Caused"

"My Lease Numbers Did Not Make Me Rich!"

"I Was Late To The Shipper and Now I'm A Work In!"

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

Utility Mechanic's Comment
member avatar

Thank you all for your replies and I completely understand your points.

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