Alcohol and Drug 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 drug 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 drug 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 drug use in the workplace. The Human Resources Department is responsible for policy administration.


This policy applies to certain safety-sensitive positions, including those employees who are required to have a Commercial Driver's License, and their supervisors.

Employee Assistance and Drug-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 drugs. Washington and Lee also provides information on the adverse health and safety consequences of illegal drug use and alcohol misuse, as well as sources of help for drug/alcohol problems.  Hard copies of the online information are available from the Human Resources Department. Assistance is also available through the University's partnership with the Carilion EAP Program. Information about EAP services is available on the HR website at 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 drugs 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), or of any size that is used to transport hazardous materials which require the vehicle to be placarded. 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 drug 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 cancelled result will result in a re-test. Confirmed positive drug test results that cannot be substantiated by medical evidence of legitimate drug use as determined by a licensed Medical Review Officer, or refusal to be tested, will be grounds for disqualification. Applicants disqualified for service will not be eligible for University employment until six months have passed from their notice of disqualification. The University will request information from previous employers regarding any positive drug test results and any refusals to be tested within the past two years.

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 should make arrangements for the employee to receive an appropriate test as soon as possible. The following conditions, though non-exclusive, are signs of possible drug or alcohol misuse, and may be considered by a trained supervisor in deciding to have an employee tested:

  • Inappropriate physical appearance
  • Altered speech
  • Unexplained changes in behavior
  • Uneven gait
  • Lack of judgment
  • Decreased performance
  • Smell of alcoholic beverages
  • Inappropriate actions
  • Chronic absenteeism or patterns of absence/tardiness

Behavior observed by a trained supervisor or performance impairment should be documented by the supervisor and reviewed by the Executive Director of Human Resources or designee prior to referral for testing. Employees referred for testing will be escorted by a member of supervision/management or designee for testing within two hours; 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 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 drugs. The random selection methodology will be determined by the University as deemed appropriate to assure that each individual has an equal chance of being tested each time. 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/drug 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 safety-sensitive duties after an alcohol test shows a concentration of less than .02% or after a verified negative result has been obtained for controlled substance use.

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 designee. Positive test results will be reported to the employee, supervisor, and the Executive Director of Human Resources or designee. Test results will be considered confidential and the reporting of test results beyond the aforementioned group should occur only on a "need to know" basis.


The University, in its sole discretion, may require an employee to submit for a re-test if the results of the previous test are negative but indicate a possible abnormality (e.g. a negative-dilute result). If the abnormality is possibly due to a health-related issue, the university may disclose the existence of the abnormality to the employee so s/he may seek appropriate medical treatment.

Prohibited Conduct

No employee shall report for duty or remain on duty requiring performance of safety-sensitive functions while having an alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or when the employee tests positive for a controlled substance. 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 within either 8 hours following a reportable accident, or until her or she undergoes a post-accident alcohol test, whichever occurs first. 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.

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 prohibited conduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action and/or will be referred to the Executive Director of Human Resources or designee for evaluation by an alcohol/substance abuse professional.

Return to Duty Testing After Prohibited Conduct

Any covered employee who has engaged in prohibited conduct must be tested before returning to work. As to alcohol, such test result must indicate an alcohol concentration of less than .02% before the employee will be allowed to return to work performing safety-sensitive functions. Any employee who has an alcohol concentration of .02% or greater but less than .04% shall not perform or continue to perform safety-sensitive functions until 24 hours following the administration of the test. As to controlled substances, the test must indicate a verified negative result for controlled substance use.

Follow-Up Testing

Each employee identified by a substance abuse professional as needing assistance in resolving problems with alcohol or controlled substances and who has returned to duty involving the performance of a safety-sensitive function will be subject to a minimum of six unannounced follow-up tests administered over the first 12 months following his or her return to duty.

Employee Requests for Re-Testing

An employee who has received a confirmed positive test result may request to have his/her specimen re-tested in a different laboratory. The employee should contact the Executive Director of Human Resources or designee 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. The cost of the additional test is the responsibility of the employee.

Policy/Procedure Administration

The Executive Director of Human Resources, Jodi Williams, or designee 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

Revised September 30, 2022 to update Executive Director of Human Resources information.

Revised July 25, 2016 to update Executive Director of Human Resources information.

Revised November 3, 2015 to update resource links and contact information, clarify what constitutes a refusal to test and circumstances of return to work following a positive test, and to include information about mandatory participation in the program.

Revised February 3, 2012 to clarify disclosure of test results and to add section on re-testing.