(a)Scope. This section prescribes minimum standards for co-worker report policies. Nothing in this section restricts a railroad from adopting, publishing and implementing a policy that affords more favorable conditions to employees troubled by alcohol or drug abuse problems, consistent with the railroad's responsibility to prevent violations of §§ 219.101 and 219.102.
(b)Employment relationship. A co-worker report policy must provide that a covered employee may maintain an employment relationship with the railroad following an alleged first offense under this part or the railroad's alcohol and drug rules, subject to the conditions and procedures contained in this section.
(c)General conditions and procedures.
(1) The alleged violation must come to the attention of the railroad as a result of a report by a co-worker that the employee was apparently unsafe to work with or was, or appeared to be, in violation of this part or the railroad's alcohol and drug rules.
(2) If the railroad representative determines that the employee is in violation, the railroad may immediately remove the employee from service in accordance with its existing policies and procedures.
(3) The employee must elect to waive investigation on the rule charge and must contact the substance abuse professional within a reasonable period specified by the policy.
(4) The substance abuse professional must schedule necessary interviews with the employee and complete an evaluation within 10 calendar days of the date on which the employee contacts the professional with a request for evaluation under the policy, unless it becomes necessary to refer the employee for further evaluation. In each case, all necessary evaluations must be completed within 20 days of the date on which the employee contacts the professional.
(d)When treatment is required. If the substance abuse professional determines that the employee is affected by psychological or chemical dependence on alcohol or a drug or by another identifiable and treatable mental or physical disorder involving the abuse of alcohol or drugs as a primary manifestation, the following conditions and procedures apply:
(1) The railroad must, to the extent necessary for treatment and rehabilitation, grant the employee a leave of absence from the railroad for the period necessary to complete primary treatment and establish control over the employee's alcohol or drug problem. The policy must allow a leave of absence of not less than 45 days, if necessary for the purpose of meeting initial treatment needs.
(2) The employee must agree to undertake and successfully complete a course of treatment deemed acceptable by the substance abuse professional.
(3) The railroad must promptly return the employee to service, on recommendation of the substance abuse professional, when the employee has established control over the substance abuse problem. Return to service may also be conditioned on successful completion of a return-to-service medical examination. Approval to return to service may not be unreasonably withheld.
(4) Following return to service, the employee, as a further condition on withholding of discipline, may, as necessary, be required to participate in a reasonable program of follow-up treatment for a period not to exceed 60 months from the date the employee was originally withdrawn from service.
(e)When treatment is not required. If the substance abuse professional determines that the employee is not affected by an identifiable and treatable mental or physical disorder—
(1) The railroad must return the employee to service within 5 days after completion of the evaluation.
(2) During or following the out-of-service period, the railroad may require the employee to participate in a program of education and training concerning the effects of alcohol and drugs on occupational or transportation safety.
(f)Follow-up tests. A railroad may conduct return-to-service and/or follow-up tests (as described in § 219.104) of an employee who waives investigation and is determined to be ready to return to service under this section.
Title 49 published on 2013-10-01
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