Reasonable Suspicion Testing


Definition - What does Reasonable Suspicion Testing mean?

Reasonable suspicion testing is a drug test that is carried out when there is suspicion that an employee is using drugs. If an employee falls under DOT guidelines, then those regulations pertaining to what constitutes reasonable suspicion must be followed. If an employee does not fall under DOT guidelines, a company may define reasonable suspicion guidelines themselves as long as they do not violate other Federal or local laws. Reasonable suspicion testing is different from random drug testing as there is an actual suspicion around the behavior of a specific employee, rather than a random test being called for without any prior concerns. Reasonable suspicion testing is also referred to as for cause drug testing.

WorkplaceTesting explains Reasonable Suspicion Testing

Reasonable suspicion drug testing is important in a company because it provides a mechanism for addressing a possible safety issue in a timely manner. Having reasonable suspicion is not the same as speculating or just guessing. Reasonable suspicion must mean that there is a legitimate reason, or reasons, for concern as defined either under DOT regulations or the company drug and alcohol policies.

Since the reasonable suspicion testing is based in part on the judgement of a manager or other employee, it is strongly recommended that the employer or supervisor undergoes proper training to make sure that there is consistency in implementing the program in the workplace. These trained individuals are also advised to document thoroughly, in writing, the observations that led to the reasonable suspicion test.

Some examples of events that may qualify as reasonable suspicion are:

  • Uncoordinated movement or slurred speech
  • Significant drop in the performance of an employee
  • Unusual conduct or erratic behavior in the workplace
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