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Drug Testing in Montana: Laws, Policies, and Procedures

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is an essential tool for ensuring safety, maintaining productivity, and promoting a drug-free environment. In Montana, employers have specific obligations and regulations when it comes to implementing drug testing programs. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of drug testing laws, policies, and procedures in Montana, covering topics such as qualified testing programs, testing criteria, sanctions, and employee rights.

Drug Testing in Montana

Montana Drug Testing Laws and Regulations

Qualified Testing Program

To conduct drug testing in Montana, employers must establish a qualified testing program that adheres to specific criteria. The program must include written policies and procedures that are available for review by all employees at least 60 days before implementation or any changes. These policies should cover various aspects, including applicable legal sanctions, education on health risks, standards of conduct, employee assistance programs, and testing procedures.

Types of Tests and Testing Procedures

Montana employers must identify the types of controlled substances and alcohol tests to be used in their qualified testing programs. The testing procedures should follow the guidelines outlined in 49 CFR, part 40, for samples covered under these regulations. For samples not covered by 49 CFR, part 40, the program must have chain-of-custody requirements and procedural standards at least as stringent as those in 49 CFR, part 40. Additionally, the testing methodology must be cleared by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Sanctions and Employee Assistance Programs

Employers must outline the sanctions that may be imposed on employees who violate the standards of conduct or test positive for controlled substances or alcohol. These sanctions should be clearly defined in the policies and procedures. The program must also provide information on available employee assistance programs, including drug and alcohol counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs.

Confidentiality and Disclosure

Any information related to drug testing, including test results, must be treated as confidential. It can only be disclosed to the tested employee, the designated representative of the employer, or in legal or administrative claims arising from the implementation of drug testing procedures or workplace accidents. However, information unrelated to controlled substances or alcohol use must remain strictly confidential and cannot be released to the employer.

Follow-up Testing and Continued Employment

If an employee tests positive for controlled substances or alcohol, the employer may require them to participate in counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation programs as a condition of continued employment. The employer may also enforce periodic follow-up testing as part of the program. These measures aim to support employees in overcoming substance abuse issues and maintaining a drug-free workplace.

To initiate the evaluation process, it is prudent to consider and undergoing a comprehensive test.

Montana Drug Testing Procedures

Testing Expense and Compensation

The cost of drug testing, including collection, transport, and confirmation testing, is the responsibility of the employer. Additionally, employees must be compensated at their regular rate, including benefits, for the time spent participating in the testing program.

Urine Testing and Chain of Custody

Urine samples collected for drug testing must adhere to the collection, transport, and confirmation testing procedures outlined in 49 CFR, part 40. These procedures ensure the integrity and reliability of the samples by maintaining a strict chain of custody. For non-urine samples, the testing procedures must be as stringent as those in 49 CFR, part 40, including the use of split specimens and confirmation testing using mass-spectrometry technology.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) Review

Before taking any action based on a positive test result, the employer must have the results reviewed and certified by a qualified medical review officer. The MRO is responsible for interpreting test results and considering any relevant medical information provided by the employee. This information may include details of prescription or nonprescription drugs used by the employee.

Breath Alcohol Testing

Breath alcohol tests must be administered by a certified breath alcohol technician using equipment listed as conforming products in the Federal Register. To be considered positive, a breath alcohol test result must indicate an alcohol concentration greater than 0.04.

Employee Rights and Protections

Employee Notification and Review

Employees and prospective employees have the right to provide relevant medical information to the medical review officer for the interpretation of test results. This information may include details of currently or recently used prescription or nonprescription drugs. Employees also have the right to review the written policies and procedures of the qualified testing program at least 60 days before implementation or any changes.

Confidentiality and Non-Discrimination

Employers must ensure the confidentiality of drug testing information and protect employees from discrimination based on the use of lawful substances, such as prescription medications. Employees who are legally using medical marijuana in compliance with state law are also protected from discrimination.

Compliance with State and Federal Laws

Montana employers must comply with both state and federal laws regarding drug testing. While state laws govern many aspects of drug testing, certain industries or positions may fall under federal regulations, such as those outlined in the Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines.

In order to take the first step towards evaluation, it is advised to proactively to undergo the necessary tests.


Implementing drug testing programs in Montana requires employers to establish qualified testing programs that comply with specific criteria. These programs must address various aspects, including testing procedures, employee assistance programs, sanctions, and confidentiality. By following these guidelines and respecting employee rights, employers can create a safe and drug-free workplace environment while ensuring compliance with Montana’s drug testing laws and regulations.

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