The Return-to-Duty Process

The evaluation process has three steps:

  • Initial Evaluation
  • Referral for Treatment/Education
  • Final Evaluation.

The Designated Employer Representative (DER) will receive a written report after the initial evaluation and a second written report after the final evaluation. After the final evaluation the second, and final report will also include a recommended schedule of unannounced follow-up UA Drug and or Breath Alcohol Testing which must be administered in addition to your regular, ongoing random testing.

The initial evaluation

For every employee who comes for evaluation following a DOT drug and alcohol regulation violation, the SAP will accomplish the following:

  1.  Provide a comprehensive face-to-face assessment and clinical evaluation.
  2. Recommend a course of education and/or treatment with which the employee must demonstrate successful compliance prior to returning to DOT safety-sensitive duty [The DOT requires that we make such a recommendation for every individual who has violated a DOT drug and alcohol regulation.]
  3. Provide a written report directly to the Designated Employer Representative (DER) highlighting our specific recommendations for assistance.


The DOT requires that every person in violation of DOT drug/alcohol regulations must be referred for education or treatment. We have a long list of organizations, agencies, hospitals and individual practitioners who can, in a timely manner, provide high-quality services to your employees across the entire spectrum of treatment and education options. We will communicate with the treatment/education provider to verify that your employee is, and to what degree, complying with our recommendation.

The final evaluation

After we have prescribed assistance under Federal Rule §40.293, we must perform a face-to-face second evaluation to determine if the employee has successfully carried out our education and/or treatment recommendations. We are well aware that our evaluation will serve as one of the major reasons the employer may decide to return the employee to safety-sensitive duty so we endeavor to be as thorough as possible.

As the SAP making the follow-up evaluation determination, we must:

  1.  Confer with and/or obtain appropriate documentation from the appropriate education/treatment program where the employee was referred; and
  2. Conduct a face-to-face clinical interview with the employee to determine if the employee demonstrated successful compliance with our initial evaluation recommendations.
  3. If the employee has demonstrated successful compliance, we will provide a written report directly to the DER highlighting our determination that the employee has done so.

[Note: There are situations in which we may determine that an employee has successfully demonstrated compliance even though the employee has not yet completed the full regimen of education/treatment we recommended or needs additional assistance. This would happen if—and only if—we make a treatment recommendation that the employee begins and we are convinced that the employee can safely return-to-work while successfully completing the recommendation on the employee’s own time. In such situations we will monitor the employee’s ongoing compliance.]

Obviously, if the employee has not demonstrated successful compliance with our recommendations, we will provide written notice of this directly to the DER.

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