SPECIAL REPORT: Mandated observation of urine tests to remain on hold

| 11/13/2008

Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 – Direct observation of return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests will remain discretionary for a while longer, thanks to a ruling handed down on a case challenging a new drug testing regulation.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently enacted new regulations that “mandated” the observed collection of urine samples for return-to-duty tests, follow-up tests, or when tampering with the sample was suspected. The regulation was to go into full effect Nov. 1.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted an emergency stay on Oct. 31 that prevented the mandatory observation of those tests. A court order issued on Nov. 12 granted a full-blown stay.

That means observation of those tests will remain discretionary until the court rules on the full lawsuit.

BNSF Railway Co. and nine other groups sued the Department of Transportation over the new drug testing policy starting in early September. The cases were consolidated, and the groups filed a motion for emergency stay pending review to stop enforcement of the new regulations on Oct. 28. The court granted the motion Oct. 31.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor