The DOT drug test is intended for those in jobs which the DOT defines as safety-sensitive. This includes those who drive commercially as well as operators of other modes of transportation, such as trains or ferries. Safety-sensitive roles do move beyond those who control vehicles, however. You may be required to undergo drug testing if you’re an airplane mechanic or a pipeline worker, for example.
If you’re not working in a safety-sensitive position, there are few limits for employers on drug testing under federal law. In such a job, you’re not required to take drug tests, but your employer isn’t prohibited from requiring drug testing as a condition of employment.
Unlike many states, Colorado has no laws covering workplace drug testing. This leaves an employer free to establish their own policy to cover jobs that aren’t considered safety-sensitive by the DOT.
Colorado law mentions drug testing in relation to unemployment. A company is not charged unemployment benefits when an employee is terminated for refusing or failing a drug test, as long as that test is in line with the company’s pre-existing policies. That is, they can’t dismiss you for failing or refusing a drug test if they have no written policy, but there are no restrictions on written policy.
All DOT drug tests must use urine-based samples, and the tests screen for five substances or the chemicals left behind after taking these substances, called metabolites:
DOT alcohol testing uses breath and saliva samples to detect alcohol levels.
If you’re in a designated safety-sensitive role, you’re subject to testing at the following times:
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