Executive Order 12564 (1986) introduced the concept of a "drug free workplace" and set in place many of the features of workplace drug testing that have now become standard for public and regulated private employers. It required all federal agencies to adopt employee drug-testing programs, which included mandatory testing for employees in "sensitive" positions involving law enforcement, public health and safety, and national security, with the extent of testing and the criteria for testing being left to the discretion of each agency head. It also permitted the testing of employees in other positions: (1) when there was reasonable suspicion that the employee was using illegal drugs; (2) in an examination regarding an accident or unsafe practice; and (3) as part of, or as a follow-up to, counseling or rehabilitation for illegal drug use through an employee assistance program.
Under the executive order, visual monitoring of the giving of a urine specimen was not permitted unless there was reason to believe that the employee would alter or substitute the specimen. The order also mandated procedures to protect the confidentiality of test results. In addition, it required each agency to establish a comprehensive employee assistance program involving education, counseling, and rehabilitation.
In Section 503 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1987, Congress required federal contractors as well as agencies to guarantee a drug-free workplace; although drug testing was not mandatory, it was recommended. Section 503 also required all federal agencies to draft detailed testing plans to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), thereby promoting the uniformity of federal testing procedures. The DHHS "Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug-Testing Programs" contain stringent procedural safeguards that have now become standard: requirements for the collection of urine specimens, the avoidance of sample mix-ups, the certification of and quality control measures for testing laboratories, and the confirmation of positive test results.
In 1988 Congress passed the Drug Free Workplace Act (DFWA), which required all federal contractors with contracts of $25,000 or more to certify to the appropriate contracting agency that they are maintaining a drug-free workplace. If they failed to do so, the contract could be canceled. Contractors were not required to implement a drug-testing program, but could do so in order to demonstrate compliance.
In 1991 standards for industries regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) were unified and consolidated in the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act (OTETA) of that year. OTETA mandates drug and alcohol tests for all individuals who hold or apply for "safety-sensitive" jobs in the transportation industry. Public-and private-sector