Non-DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing
Unlike DOT drug testing programs, which are strictly defined by federal regulation, non-DOT testing programs are more flexible. They must still be fair to the employee and reasonable. However, the employer has greater freedom to determine how many and which drugs to test for. They also have the freedom to determine which of the several testing methodologies they utilize in their testing programs.
Some programs are DOT look alike programs. These programs mirror the procedures and rules of the DOT drug testing programs. They involve the collection of a urine specimen, its evaluation by an HHS (Health and Human Services) certified laboratory, and review of the testing process by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). These programs are the most defensible and widely accepted method of drug testing. This testing methodology costs slightly more than the immediate, in-office tests and take at least one business day to get the test results.
Other programs use a "dip" type test. This process allows for an immediate test result. It costs slightly less than the DOT look-alike tests but are still widely used and accurate. If the employee tests positive for a tested drug, a confirmation sample can be sent to an HHS laboratory just as in the other program. The primary advantage to this type of drug testing program is immediacy of the test result. If your company drug and alcohol policy allows for this type of testing the overall savings can be significant. Contact our office for more information on how drug and alcohol testing can assist your company.
Additionally, employers who have employees who report to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol are provided protection under New Hampshire state law. However, the employer must have a mechanism to determine that the employee's intoxication led to their actions or the employee's injuries. This is where a substance abuse or drug and alcohol policy can benefit the employer.
The following are the NH state laws and the links to the Department of Labor's web site.
282-A:34 Intoxication; Drugs. – An unemployed individual who has been discharged for intoxication or use of controlled drugs as defined in RSA 318-B:1, VI, of such degree and rate of occurrence as to seriously hamper or interfere with the individual's work, shall be disqualified for benefits. Such disqualification shall continue until a period of not less than 4 weeks nor more than 26 weeks from the date of discharge, as may be determined by the commissioner, has passed and until such individual has earned wages as provided in RSA 282-A:32, I.
281-A:14 Employee's Fault. – The employer shall not be liable for any injury to a worker which is caused in whole or in part by the intoxication, as defined in RSA 281-A:2, XII-a, or by the serious and willful misconduct of the worker. The provision as to intoxication shall not apply, however, if the employer knew that the employee was intoxicated.
281-A:2 Definitions XII-a. "Intoxication" means intoxication by alcohol or controlled drug as defined in RSA 318-B:1. This definition shall not include an employee's use of a controlled drug for which a prescription has been issued authorizing such drug to be dispensed to him, when the employee's use of the controlled drug is in accordance with the instructions for use of the controlled drug.