Random Drug & Alcohol Testing

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program

The North Dakota League of Cities has partnered with Global Safety Network to offer a random drug and alcohol testing program. Below is information on the limitations on cities using random drug and alcohol testing for city employees and explains how the random drug and alcohol testing program works.

Limited Random Testing of City Employees
The United States Supreme Court has determined that the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution limits when a city can require random drug and alcohol testing for city employees. (Skinner v. Railway Executives' Association, 489 U.S. 602 (1989)) The 4th Amendment assures United States citizens that they will not be subject to unreasonable searches. In other words, cities need to have a good reason to require employees to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing program.

The Supreme Court determined that employees who perform safety sensitive jobs for cities can be required to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing program. To determine whether a position is safety sensitive, the employee’s job duties must be closely examined. A position can be considered a safety sensitive position if the employee’s duties are fraught with such “risks of injury to others that even a momentary lapse of attention can have disastrous consequences.” The following positions are illustrative of positions that courts have found meet the requirements to be considered safety-sensitive:
 
Police Officers
Firefighters
Heavy Equipment Operators
Sanitation Drivers
Waste and Sewage Treatment Plant Operators
Drivers Driving with Commercial Drivers Licenses or US Department of Transportation Licenses
 
This list is not exhaustive, and cities need to pay close attention to what duties employees are actually performing before requiring employees to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing pool. Please also note that courts have found that duties that involve interacting with the public or handling money are not by themselves enough to justify requiring an employee to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing pool.

If a city has a question about whether a specific employee should be required to participate in the random drug and alcohol testing program, the city should consult its city attorney.

Employee Handbook
Prior to requiring employees to participate in a random drug and alcohol testing program, cities should ensure that their employee handbook contains a drug and alcohol testing policy. The policy should include language about which positions are covered by the policy, the process used, how employees will be selected, the confidentiality of the records, and the ramifications of a positive test. The policy should also identify that random drug and alcohol testing requirements are administered in an equitable and non-discriminatory manner.

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program
The League maintains two random drug and alcohol testing pools. One is for employees with commercial driver licenses (CDLs) or U.S. Department of Transportation licenses. The second pool is for employees in positions that are safety sensitive.

Here’s how the random drug and alcohol testing program works:

* The city contacts the League and asks to be included in the North Dakota League of Cities random drug and alcohol testing program.

* The League charges each participating city an annual flat rate of $60 for each employee included in a random testing pool. The fee includes: collection, lab/medical review officer testing & reporting, random selections, maintenance of random pool, annual statistical reports and administrative fees.

* The city provides Global Safety Network with a list of employees to include in the random testing pool and which pool the employee should be included in through Global Safety Network’s online portal. Cities are reminded quarterly to update employee lists in the event employee changes have occurred.

* Quarterly random selections from each League pool are computer generated. Drug tests are performed on 35% of employees in each pool annually. Alcohol tests are performed on 10% of employees in each pool annually. There is discussion about increasing the required drawing rate for employees in the pool for commercial drivers’ licenses and for US Department of Transportation Licenses. Draw rates will be adjusted to be compliant with federal law.  

* Global Safety Network charges the League for each test performed.

As stated, these are random testing pools. That means that names are drawn from the employees submitted by all participating cities. The possibility exists that no employee from a city will be drawn during the calendar year. However, the possibility also exists that multiple employees from a city could be drawn during the calendar year. The drawing process is completely random although the drawing software does take into account geographical regions of the state so that employees being drawn come from all parts of the state.

The program meets the requirements of 49 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) 40, 199, 382, 391 and 395. The service provided by Global Safety Network is confidential. All records and results are housed in-office and are accessed only by Global Safety Network authorized employees. Reporting is done by email, fax, telephone or mail. In accordance with the DOT regulations, negative records are kept for two years and positives are kept for five years. DOT test results are reviewed by a certified Medical Review Officer (MRO) to ensure confidentiality. The MRO has training in substance abuse and will review results and recommend action consistent with all federal regulations.

The Specimen Testing Lab meets all federal requirements and is certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). All drug screens are performed by immunoassay and all positives confirmed by GC/MS or LC/MS/MS. Only DOT authorized devices are used to perform alcohol testing.

Global Safety Network offers on-site/mobile collections at its locations, and will arrange for certified third-party collectors throughout the state. Properly trained collectors make a difference in reducing possible liability. Only collectors that are trained using the US Department of Health and Human Services “mandatory guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs” will perform collection services.

The North Dakota League of Cities Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Program does not include pre-employment, reasonable suspicion testing, or post-accident testing. Cities can contract directly with Global Safety Network or another company for additional drug testing services.

Contact Carissa at the League with questions or to enroll at 701-223-3518 or carissa@ndlc.org.