Is your firm or the clinic you use for specimen collection using an illegal medical release?
It may be worth your time to check.
This article came to our attention that highlighted such a situation. If an illegal medical release is associated with your firm, your firm could be exposed to legal liability. The example below summarizes a situation with the U.S. Postal Service and the federal Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse. Even if you are not associated with the federal Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, you may be vulnerable to legal consequences for an inappropriate medical release.
For those of you who need to follow DOT testing guidelines, the article provides, at the bottom, a reference to a summary of DOT testing guidelines.
Concentra required CDL employees to sign a medical release form for random U.S. DOT drug testing. Employees were encouraged to register online to speed up the process. From the medical record release form, reported by the union:
“I give Concentra authorization to release to my employer, insurance company, and their representatives … including any medical information, including any psychotherapy notes, psychiatric information, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol and drug abuse and /or HIV/AIDS status, which is obtained as part of the evaluation and /or treatment for this work-related injury/illness or employment-related examination.”
Employees who refused to sign a medical release form were denied the opportunity to take the drug and alcohol test. Failure to take a scheduled random drug and alcohol test is considered a positive test. That results in a positive test reported to the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse database and suspended driving privileges.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the U.S. DOT agency that oversees the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse, does not require a medical examiner to provide a copy of the medical examination report to the employer. This also was spelled out in the union collective bargaining agreement with USPS.
The union observed in its statement that, when the USPS contracts out services, the contractor may initiate policies that violate the collective bargaining agreement.
The linked is reference to a brief summary of the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration drug and alcohol testing requirements. For detailed information, refer to Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations under the section numbers provided.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs since 1999. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: email@example.com or the website at randisiandassociates.com