Aviation News

June 19, 2011

United Airlines Fined Nearly $600K Over Flawed Drug Test Procedures

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By: BNO News
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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday proposed to assess a civil penalty of more than half a million dollars against United Airlines for allegedly violating FAA and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations for random drug and alcohol testing of safety-sensitive employees.

United Airlines 757 N507UA Matt Molnar LGA

A United Airlines 757 (N507UA) seen here completing the Expressway Visual 31 approach. (Photograph by Matt Molnar)

The FAA alleges that United failed to perform required pre-employment drug tests and receive verified negative test results before transferring 13 individuals to safety-sensitive positions, as required by FAA and DOT regulations.

The FAA also cited United for allegedly failing to use a scientifically valid method to ensure that each member of the company’s flight crews, all of whom are safety-sensitive employees, has an equal chance of being selected for random drug and alcohol testing each time a selection is made. The FAA warned United at least twice before that the company’s random test selection methods did not give each eligible flight crew member an equal chance of being selected.

“Drug testing is both a critical and a required safety measure that all operators must follow,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

United Airlines will now face a $584,375 civil penalty but has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

  • Charles Walton

    A good idea having people tested before employment, that way companies can save a lot of work and money before risking the safety of the buisness. The faa drug abatement division is in charge of ensuring everything is in order.