ONLY A DOT QUALIFIED SAP CAN DETERMINE AN EMPLOYEE’S ELIGIBILITY TO RETURN TO A SAFETY SENSITIVE DUTY.
Not all substance abuse counselors are DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP). A DOT qualified SAP is required to have specialized training, credentialing and continuing education on drugs and alcohol per DOT CFR 49 Part 40 guidelines.
What is DOT Drug Testing?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has drug and alcohol testing requirements of safety-sensitive employees employed in the aviation, railroad, public transit, trucking, maritime and pipeline industries.
What is the Return to Duty SAP Process?
The Return to Duty Process is required when a DOT regulated employee either tests positive on a DOT mandated drug and/or alcohol test or refuses to take a required DOT test. The employee must successfully complete the Return to Duty Process in order to become eligible to return to the safety-sensitive job or to accept a safety-sensitive position with another DOT regulated employer. The Return to Duty Process begins with a face-to-face evaluation conducted by a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) who must make treatment and/or education recommendations for the employee. Once the employee has successfully complied with the recommendations, a follow-up face-to face evaluation is scheduled with the same SAP. Based upon the follow-up evaluation, the SAP issues a written determination of the employee’s eligibility (or ineligibility) to be returned to the safety sensitive job or to begin a new one. The employee’s eligibility status is contingent upon a negative DOT Return to Duty test results. The decision to return the eligible employee to work, or to hire the employee is at the discretion of the employer.
Who is required to go through the DOT Return to Duty SAP Process?
All DOT regulated safety-sensitive employees employed in the aviation, railroad, public transit, trucking, maritime and pipeline industries that have violated the DOT drug and alcohol testing rules, such as a positive test result.
I was terminated after a violation. Do I still need to go through the Return to Duty SAP process?
Yes. Once an employee has violated the federal drug and alcohol testing regulations, the employee is considered ineligible to perform safety sensitive duties until they have completed the SAP process.
If an employee test positive on a DOT Drug or Alcohol test can they retake the test in a couple of hours or days?
No. Once a DOT mandated employee receives a positive test result they must be removed from safety sensitive duties and complete the Return to Duty SAP process.
I believe that my test results were a mistake. Do I still have to go through the DOT Return to Duty process?
Yes. The DOT has specific regulations to insure that the testing process is secure and accurate. Specimens are thoroughly reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) before test results are confirmed as positive.
What is a SAP?
A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a licensed clinician and certified specialist who evaluates employees who have violated DOT alcohol and drug program rule(s) such as a positive test. In addition, a SAP makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing and aftercare. To act as a SAP, the provider must have specialized training, credentialing and continuing education on drugs and alcohol per DOT CFR 49 Part 40 guidelines. SAPs do not advocate for the employer or the employee. Their function is to protect the public interest and safety by recommending appropriate education and/or treatment.
Will I be able to work while going through the SAP process?
Individuals are NOT permitted to perform safety-sensitive duties while going through the DOT Return to Duty SAP process. However, individuals may work in a non-duty sensitive function. Placement in such a job is solely at the discretion of the employer.
If I have health insurance can I use that to pay for my SAP services?
No, typically SAP evaluations are not covered by health insurance. It is best to consult with your insurance provider to be certain.