Testing Guidance for Returning Furloughed/Laid-off Employees: FRA
There is no requirement for employers to conduct pre-employment tests of FRA-covered employees who are returning to work following furlough or lay-off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Random Alcohol and Drug Testing:
FRA Guidance on random testing states that a railroad must use due diligence to ensure that random testing is completed for each selected employee, unless it has an acceptable explanation for not conducting the collection. All reasons for incomplete collections must be fully documented and are subject to inspection by FRA upon request, including that a random test was not conducted for COVID-19 related reasons.
FRA guidance also includes the following: “A railroad that is unable to complete a collection for each selection made during a designated testing period may increase the number of selections in a subsequent selection period to ensure that it meets the annual minimum random testing rate for the calendar year.” If a railroad is unable, due to COVID-19-related reasons, to complete testing for each person selected within the testing window, the railroad may increase the number of selections in a subsequent selection period to help ensure that it meets the 2020 minimum annual random testing rate.
An employee who was notified of [his] or her selection for random testing and was excused/not tested because of COVID-19 related unavailability of the employee or of testing/collection personnel, the employee cannot be random tested at a later time during the selection period when he/she is available or when testing/collection services are available. If an employer was selected for random testing and was not notified because testing could not be accomplished (employee was on COVID quarantine, furloughed, etc.), the employee can be random tested when they return to duty within the selection period. As a reminder, a railroad may only subject an employee to random testing when the employee is on-duty and subject to performing regulated service. An employee who is off-duty for COVID-19-related reasons may not, therefore, be called on-duty for the purpose of random testing.