Alcohol and Controlled Substance Testing for Certain Safety-Sensitive Employees


Policy Statement

In compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, Washington and Lee University has a longstanding commitment to providing a safe, quality-oriented and productive work environment. Alcohol and controlled substance abuse pose a threat to the health and safety of Washington and Lee University employees and to the security of our equipment and facilities. For these reasons, Washington and Lee University is committed to the elimination of non-prescribed controlled substances and/or alcohol use and abuse in the workplace.

This policy outlines the practice and procedure designed to prevent and correct instances of identified alcohol and/or non-prescribed controlled substances use in the workplace. The Human Resources Department is responsible for policy administration.


This policy applies to employees who have been classified as being in safety-sensitive positions as defined by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT defines safety-sensitive employee as someone who holds a job that can impact both their own safety and the safety of the public. On Washington and Lee's campus, safety-sensitive employees are those who are required to hold a commercial driver's license in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle, i.e. a commercial collection vehicle. This policy is also applicable to the supervisors of employees in safety-sensitive positions.


Designated Employee Representative (DER) - The employee at the company authorized by the employer to take immediate action to remove employees from safety-sensitive duties, to make decisions required in the testing process, and to receive test results.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) - The lead federal government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). FMCSA's mission is to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Clearinghouse (FMCSA Clearinghouse) - Secure online database that gives employers, the FMCSA, State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), and State law enforcement personnel real-time information about commercial driver's license (CDL) and commercial learner's permit (CLP) holders' drug and alcohol program violations. An act of Congress directed the Secretary of Transportation to establish the Clearinghouse.

Third Party Administrator - Entity that coordinates several services for employers to maintain a drug testing and/or drug free workplace program.

Qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) - A substance abuse professional, having completed DOT required training, who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) - Federal government agency with the top priorities of keeping the traveling public safe, increasing mobility, and having a transportation system contribute to the nation's economic growth.

Employee Assistance and Substance-Free Awareness

Washington and Lee's Drug-Free Workplace and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Notice provides information on laws and University policies governing alcohol and controlled substances. Assistance is available through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Information about EAP services is available on the HR website or by contacting the Human Resources Department.


It is the policy of Washington and Lee University to comply with the provisions of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 ("the act") and to attract and maintain a workforce free of alcohol and non-prescribed controlled substances that may impair judgment and job performance and may result in accident or injury to self, other employees, students, or visitors.

Covered employees under the Act include individuals who are required to maintain a valid CDL because they either regularly or occasionally operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). A CMV is defined as a vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more lbs, or with the capacity to carry 16 or more passengers (including the driver). Participation in the controlled substances and alcohol testing program is mandatory for each individual required to maintain a CDL and is a term of employment for all such individuals. Each covered employee under the Act must certify that s/he has received a copy of this policy.

General Procedure Summary

In order to ensure safe practices in these positions, the University requires pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, return to duty and follow-up testing, as mandated by the Act and described below.

Pre-Employment Testing

Applicants selected for certain safety-sensitive University jobs must consent to pre-employment controlled substances testing as a condition of employment. This includes applicants who are already University employees, and who are seeking transfer into a position requiring testing. Such tests may include (but are not limited to) urine and/or blood analysis. Any positive test will be confirmed as required under applicable regulations. When a negative result is required, such as in a pre-employment testing, a canceled result will result in a re-test. Confirmed positive controlled substance test results that cannot be substantiated by medical evidence of legitimate use as determined by a licensed Medical Review Officer, or refusal to be tested, will be grounds for disqualification. Individuals disqualified will not be eligible to serve in a safety sensitive position unless they can prove that they have successfully completed the return-to-duty process as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Pre-employment queries will be ran through the FMCSA Clearinghouse to determine if any controlled substance or alcohol violation exist. 

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

When a supervisor has reason to believe the employee may be under the influence of alcohol (including medications containing alcohol) or controlled substances, and may not be able to meet established performance standards, thereby placing the employee and/or others at risk of injury or loss, the supervisor will contact the designated employee representative (DER) for consultation on immediate testing requirements. 

Employees referred for testing will be escorted by a member of supervision/management or DER for testing within two hours of observed behavior. If not able to conduct the test within 2 hours, the test should be completed within 8 hours, but the supervisor should make note of the reason for the delay. The supervisor/management will make arrangements for the employee to be transported home following testing. Employees who do not submit to the test will be removed from their safety-sensitive position and be subject to disciplinary actions up to and including discharge.

Random Testing

Each year at least 10% of all affected employees must be randomly selected and tested for alcohol and 50% tested for controlled substances. The random selection methodology will be determined by a Third Party Administrator. Employees must present themselves for testing within one hour of selection or be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

Post Accident Testing

An employee must submit to post accident testing: 1) following a work-related accident resulting in loss of human life; 2) after receiving a citation for a moving traffic violation in combination with the vehicle being towed or medical attention being rendered away from the accident; or 3) as otherwise required by Human Resources. Employees must report any such accident to their supervisor and must present themselves for testing immediately after the accident, or be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

Re-Assignment Pending Test Results and Return to Duty in the Absence of Prohibited Conduct

The employee may be reassigned from his/her safety-sensitive duties while awaiting the results of the alcohol/controlled substance test or, at the employee's election, earned leave may be applied. Such action is not to be considered disciplinary in nature nor a presumption of misconduct. The employee will only be returned to his/her safety-sensitive position once the DOT required return to duty process is complete and the employee has submitted negative breath alcohol or urine drug screens under DOT guidelines. 

Testing Information and Results

Before testing, each employee will be informed about how the test will be performed, the substance(s) for which the employee is being tested, and what will be done with the test results. Negative test results will be reported to the employee and the Executive Director of Human Resources or DER. Positive test results will be reported to the employee, supervisor, and the Executive Director of Human Resources or DER. Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), any document containing medical information about an employee is considered a medical record and is regarded as confidential. Test results shall be treated as confidential medical records and maintained by Human Resources. The reporting of test results beyond the aforementioned group should occur only on a "need to know" basis.

Prohibited Conduct

No employee shall report for duty or remain on duty requiring performance of safety-sensitive functions while having an alcohol concentration that exceeds the limits of the FMCSA regulations. No employee shall use alcohol or controlled substances while on the job. No employee shall perform safety-sensitive functions within four hours after using alcohol. No employee shall use alcohol following a reportable accident until he or she undergoes a post-accident alcohol test. No employee shall report for duty or remain on duty, when safety-sensitive functions are to be performed, when the driver uses any controlled substances, except when the use is at the instruction of a physician who has advised the driver that the substance does not adversely affect the ability to safely operate a CMV. Employees using prescribed or over-the-counter medication are prohibited from operating W&L vehicles or equipment at any time when their ability to do so might be impaired by the medication and must report use of any medication, prescribed or over the counter, which may alter their ability to function safely to their supervisor. In addition, no passenger in a W&L vehicle may consume alcoholic beverages or use non-prescribed controlled substances while in the vehicle.

Employees must report all prescribed medications which may result in a positive test to the Designated Employee Representative.

No employee shall fail or refuse to timely submit to testing required under this policy/procedure and the Act. Behavior that constitutes a refusal includes refusal to take the test, inability to provide sufficient quantities of breath, saliva, or urine to be tested without a valid medical explanation; tampering, altering, diluting or attempting to adulterate a specimen, interfering with the collection procedure, not immediately reporting to the collection site, failing to remain at the collection site until the collection process is complete, having a test result reported as adulterated or substituted, or leaving the scene of an accident without a valid reason before the tests have been conducted. When a refusal event is found to have occurred, the employee will be immediately removed from safety-sensitive duties and will not be returned until the Return-to-Duty procedures have been successfully completed. An employee who has been determined to have engaged in any prohibited conduct or violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and/or will be referred to the Executive Director of Human Resources or DER for evaluation by a qualified substance abuse professional (SAP). Referral to a qualified SAP is required for every DOT violation.

Return to Duty Testing After Prohibited Conduct

Any covered employee must complete the return to duty process, including compliance with assessment and recommendations made by a qualified SAP under DOT. Upon successful completion of the qualified SAP's recommendations, the qualified SAP will submit documentation clearing the employee for return to safety sensitive duty. In that documentation, the qualified SAP will determine follow up testing frequency and duration.

Employee Requests for Re-Testing

An employee who has received a confirmed positive test result and/or refuses to test because of adulteration or substitution may request to have his/her specimen re-tested in a different laboratory. The employee should contact the Executive Director of Human Resources or DER immediately upon receipt of the positive test result for information on how to initiate such a request, which must be made within 72 hours of receiving the positive test result to the Medical Review Officer.

Policy/Procedure Administration

The Executive Director of Human Resources, Jodi Williams, or DER is responsible for the development of procedures to implement and administer this policy. Ms. Williams may be reached at or 540-458-8318 with questions about program administration. For information on counseling and treatment programs, employees may contact Ms. Williams, or the Carilion EAP at 800-992-1931 or

Revision History

This policy has not yet been revised.