Reasonable Suspicion

Last updated: May 25, 2018

What Does Reasonable Suspicion Mean?

Reasonable suspicion, in general, refers to a suspicion based on a combination of specific facts and rational inferences. As a legal standard of proof, reasonable suspicion requires less certainty than the legal probable cause standard, but must be more defined than a hunch. Reasonable suspicion for a drug test, according to the, Department of Transportation regulations means that a trained supervisor has reason to suspect that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A supervisor's observations must be specific and contemporaneous, and lead to an objective belief that the employee has used a prohibited substance.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Reasonable Suspicion

A reasonable suspicion determination under Department of Transportation guidelines may only be made by a trained supervisor or supervisors. The supervisor must be able to articulate the specifics of the behaviors, appearance, speech patterns, or other factors that led to the suspicion of alcohol or drug abuse by the employee. Observed symptoms of withdrawal may be considered when making a determination of reasonable suspicion, but only in conjunction with other contemporaneous indicators of substance abuse.


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