Drug Testing:

Federal Agency Plans for Testing Employees

GGD-89-51: Published: Mar 1, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO assessed executive agencies' drug-testing programs for employees in sensitive positions, focusing on: (1) whether Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) guidelines and agencies' plans complied with the drug-testing provisions of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1987; and (2) disparities among the agencies' plans.

GAO found that: (1) the HHS mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug-testing programs addressed the appropriations act's provisions, specifying drugs covered by random testing, procedures for specimen collection and screening and confirmatory testing, and authorized drug-testing services; (2) 11 of the 12 civilian cabinet level departments submitted a total of 21 plans; (3) although the agencies' plans generally adhered to the act's provisions, they differed in terms of designated employee positions subject to random testing, testing frequency, number and types of drugs for testing, and applicant, post-accident, and follow-up testing procedures; (4) agencies' plans did not provide a rationale for their specific testing circumstances; (5) agencies' plans closely followed Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance by listing a range of disciplinary actions against employees who tested positive, but generally did not provide criteria as to which disciplinary action to take; and (6) neither the agencies' plans nor OPM guidance addressed protection of employees' rights under the Civil Service Reform Act or the Rehabilitation Act.

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