USA Banner

Official US Government Icon

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure Site Icon

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

What steps must I take if my employee violates the Federal drug and alcohol testing rule?

View the full FAQ here.

When an employee (or applicant) violates the Federal drug and alcohol testing regulation (14 CFR Part 120), you must immediately remove the employee from performing safety-sensitive duties and provide a listing of Substance Abuse Professionals (SAPs) readily available to the employee. A violation includes:

  • A verified positive drug test result.
  • A confirmed test with an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or greater.
  • Documented evidence of on-duty drug or alcohol use while performing safety-sensitive duties.
  • Documented evidence of pre-duty use (indicating the employee used alcohol within 8-hours of duty for an air traffic control, flight crewmember or flight attendant; or within 4-hours for all other safety-sensitive employees).
  • An employee using alcohol following an accident. 
  • A refusal to submit to drug and/or alcohol testing.

If the individual holds a medical certificate issued under 14 CFR part 67, you must report the violation to the FAA's Federal Air Surgeon within two working days. If the individual holds an airmen certificate issued under 14 CFR part 61, 63 or 65 and refuses to submit to testing, you must report the violation to the FAA's Drug Abatement Division within two working days. For all other employees or applicants, you may report the violation to the FAA's Drug Abatement Division. More information and sample forms are available on the Drug Abatement Division's Suggested Forms & Formats webpage and in our Frequently Asked Question on reporting a violation

If you employed the individual as a pilot at the time of the violation, you are required to enter the violation in the FAA’s Pilot Records Database [PRD] within 30 calendar days. For more information about entering your pilot’s drug or alcohol violation in the PRD, please review our Frequently Asked Question on this topic. For questions about the PRD, please contact the PRD support office at 9-amc-avs-PRDSupport@faa.gov.

You are prohibited from allowing the employee or applicant to work in any safety-sensitive capacity until he or she completes the return-to-duty procedures described in 49 CFR Part 40, Subpart O. If you choose to retain the employee while he or she is meeting the SAP requirements, you must remove the employee from the random pool until he or she returns to work.

Once the SAP determines that the employee successfully complied with the education and treatment and is ready to return to work, you must obtain copies of the reports from the SAP and conduct the return-to-duty drug or alcohol test. You must ensure that the return-to-duty drug test is collected under direct observation or using oral fluids. Once you have the negative return-to-duty test result, you may return the employee to work or hire the person and begin the follow-up testing plan directed by the SAP. You must ensure that all follow-up drug testing is collected under direct observation or using oral fluids. You are prohibited from sharing the follow-up testing plan with the employee.

We developed a checklist to help you ensure you do everything right when you learn about an employee’s violation.

If you have further questions or need additional guidance that is more specific to your situation, please contact the FAA Drug Abatement Division at 202-267-8442 or drugabatement@faa.gov.

Please visit our website to learn more about our program.

Applicable Regulations:

49 CFR part 40, subpart O
14 CFR part 111