Follow-Up Testing

Definition - What does Follow-Up Testing mean?

Follow-up testing is a series of drug tests that are carried out after employees have already been found in violation of company drug policies or returned a positive result on a previous drug test. This is generally part of a "last chance" return-to-work agreement with the employer and a last chance for the employee to avoid termination. Follow-up testing is a series of unannounced drug tests that must return negative in order for an employee to keep his or her job. Follow-up testing usually runs, at a minimum, over the course of the first year an employee is back on the job, and may continue for up to five years. Follow-up testing is also known as post-rehabilitation testing.

WorkplaceTesting explains Follow-Up Testing

Follow-up testing is drug testing meant to follow a previous positive test and ensure an employee is not still abusing drugs or alcohol. If an employee returns a positive result on a previous drug test and is removed from his or her duties but not fired, that employee is usually paired with a substance abuse professional (SAP) who will work with the employee to plan rehabilitation and education steps to address the drug or alcohol problem. After all SAP recommended steps are completed, an employee may begin a return-to-work program.

This return-to-work program is often the last chance the employee has to avoid being fired, and includes several follow-up drug tests. These follow-up tests are not announced to the employee so as to lessen the chance of adulterated samples or other test-dodging behaviors. These tests can continue for up to five year for employees falling under DOT regulations, and as a minimum will continue for a year. The SAP determines the number of follow-up tests conducted, and over what period of time. If an employee under follow-up testing fails (returns a positive result) on any of the follow-up tests they will most likely be terminated, although this varies from policy to policy.

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