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Proposed Urine-Test Rule Change at DOT Fuels Privacy Concerns

By Admin

Reported by Lillianna Byington for Bloomberg Law.

Workers say a proposed change from the Transportation Department to drug testing rules could unfairly violate their privacy.

The administration is weighing whether to allow a licensed professional of any gender to observe a urine test for drugs. The proposal was included in a broader rule that’s mainly seeking to add saliva sampling to the transportation industry’s drug testing. The comments, pitting employers against employees, were due on the proposal by April 29.

“This proposal is a step backwards on gender self-identification policies during observed urine collection,” Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, said in comments submitted to the agency, which were provided to Bloomberg Government Monday. “It is an unnecessary invasion of employees’ privacy to allow observers to be of a different gender.”

Other groups representing workers also oppose the possible change. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association urged the department to continue to require that observers of urine collections be the same gender as the employee.

FlightSafety International, an aviation training company, also opposes the change, saying it could be considered a violation of privacy and create legal or human resources problems, potentially constituting a hostile work environment or sexual harassment claim.

Transportation employers have told the department that they endorse the change. Airlines for America, representing major airlines, said it supports the proposal to allow direct observations by any licensed or certified medical professional.