Legal Myths, Part III: Can You Sue an MRO If You Fail A Drug Test?

This is the third installment in our video and blog series on legal myths. The first focused on the issue of warrantless searches of sleeper berths. The second focused on the issue of whether or not a carrier must give drivers copies of load confirmation sheets. Watch our third video in this series on YouTube here.

This installment of the series focuses on another topic that has caused drivers confusion and consternation on a number of fronts: drug testing. Often issues arise when a driver contests the results revealed by a drug test. In particular, our firm often gets calls from drivers who want to sue the MRO (medical review officer) who performed their drug test, a scenario arising after the employee has tested positive but disagrees with the result.

An MRO is someone who is designated by the carrier to confirm a positive controlled substance test. Their job is simply to call employees to inform them when they have tested positive, and to give the employee an opportunity to provide an explanation for the testing result. For example, the MRO might call an employee with information that the employee tested positive for a given drug, and the employee might truthfully respond that the employee has a doctor’s prescription for that drug.

It is important to remember that an MRO is not your doctor. It is also important to remember that neither is the MRO your company’s doctor. Rather, an MRO is someone defined within the specific meaning of the DOT’s drug and alcohol testing regulations. As such, they do not engage in malpractice when they merely relay the results of a positive test to the tested employee. Such actions have been attempted in court but have not been successful.

If you believe you claim against your doctor and are considering pursuing legal action, give our firm a call (952) 657-5780! We’ll be happy to talk you through the options you can pursue.

Legal Myths, Part II: Does a Carrier Have to Show Driver Load Confirmation Sheets?

This is the second blog post to accompany our video series on legal myths. The previous blog post/video sought to dispel some inaccurate beliefs that drivers may have about their rights to be free from searches of their sleeper berths.

This video and blog post focuses on another common misconception by addressing the question, are carriers required to show load confirmation sheets to owner-operator drivers? Even though it may seem likely that this would be the rule required by the regulations governing federal motor carriers, it is not a strict requirement. Rather, other options exist for a carrier to comply with the law.

The Department of Transportation’s truth-in-leasing regulations state that, if you are paid based on a percentage, you are entitled either to receive a copy of the invoice given to customers (referred to in the regulations as the “rated freight bill”), or instead to receive a computer-generated settlement document containing the same information contained on a rated freight bill. This information includes:

  • Origin
  • Destination
  • Miles
  • Piece count
  • Possibly weight (in the case of LTL shipping)
  • Charges to customer including linehaul and any fuel surcharges

If your employer gives you a computer-generated settlement that contains this information, it suffices as an invoice that gives you proof of what the customer is being charged.

Finally, regardless of how you are paid—whether by the load, mile, hour, day, week, etc.—carriers must provide employees with the rate circulars, rate confirmation sheets, and tariff sheets, and other methods the employer uses to calculate employee compensation. The employer can block out the customers’ identifying information on these sheets, and they don’t have to give you physical copies, but your employer must produce and show you this information if you have given your employer reasonable notice that you are requesting it.