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Drug Testing in Montana

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on May 25, 2012.

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Drug testing by employers in Montana is governed by these state rules.

Each of the following activities is permissible in the implementation of a qualified drug or alcohol testing program:

  • Applicant testing: An employer may test a prospective employee as a condition of hire.
  • Random testing: An employer may use random testing if the employer's controlled substance and alcohol policy includes one or both of the following procedures:
    • an employer or an employer's representative may establish a date when all salaried and wage-earning employees will be required to undergo controlled substance or alcohol tests, or both
    • an employer may manage or contract with a third party to establish and administer a random testing process
  • Follow-up testing: An employer may require an employee to submit to follow-up tests if the employee has had a verified positive test for a controlled substance or for alcohol.
  • Reasonable suspicion testing: An employer may require an employee to be tested for controlled substances or alcohol if the employer has reason to suspect that an employee's faculties are impaired on the job as a result of the use of a controlled substance or alcohol consumption.
  • Post-accident testing: An employer may require an employee to be tested for controlled substances or alcohol if the employer has reason to believe that the employee's act or failure to act is a direct or proximate cause of a work-related accident that has caused death or personal injury or property damage in excess of a certain amount.

An employer must provide an employee who has been tested under any qualified testing program described above with a copy of the test report. The employer is also required to obtain, at the employee's request, an additional test of the urine split sample by an independent lab selected by the person tested. The employer must pay for the additional tests if the additional test results are negative, and the employee must pay for them if the additional test results are positive. The employee must be provided the opportunity to rebut or explain the results of any test.

No adverse action, including follow-up testing, may be taken by an employer if an employee presents a reasonable explanation or medical opinion indicating that the original test results were not caused by illegal use of controlled substances or by alcohol consumption. If the employee presents a reasonable explanation or medical opinion, the test results must be removed from the employee's record and destroyed.

Drug Testing Requirements

Qualified testing programs must meet other procedural requirements imposed by the law. The definition of a sample in Montana's Workforce Drug and Alcohol Testing Act includes a urine specimen, a breath test, or oral fluid obtained in a minimally invasive manner and determined to meet the reliability and accuracy criteria accepted by laboratories for the performance of drug testing that is used to determine the presence of a controlled substance or alcohol.

Testing procedures for samples covered by federal regulations must conform to those federal regulations. For samples not covered by federal regulations, the qualified testing program must contain a chain of custody and other procedural requirements that are at least as stringent as the requirements under federal regulations and testing methodology must be cleared by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

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