What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test for a Job?

What happens if you fail a drug test will depend on the industry you’re in, the place you work at, as well as other factors.

In this article, we’ll discuss the consequences of drug use showing up on non-DOT drug test results during background screening. Additionally, we’ll give some tips for people on probation.

For information about failed DOT drug test, check out our other article.

Scenario one: a person fails a drug test for employment

Suppose you’re applying for job at a new company, and as part of their drug-free workplace program conditions you’re required to take a drug test. Usually, that would be a 5-panel urine drug test.

Logically, the consequences of a positive test result for drug usage would include a withdrawn job offer. But is this the case with all employers, or while on probation? Are there legal consequences of failed drug tests? Keep reading to find out.

Will I be notified if I fail a drug test?

Yes, companies that employ alcohol and drug screening program also hire professionals called Medical Review Officer (MRO). An officer will analyze the result sheet and call you if something has turned up positive.

If you can provide prescription for certain drugs, there’s a chance you’ll still be hired. Also, there’s a chance of something you took before causing a false positive drug test. In these circumstances, you can ask to be re-tested.

How does Amazon handle failed drug test?

Amazon asks candidates to take a pre-employment drug test before confirming a hire. E-commerce giant uses mouth swab tests and often doesn’t give a warning to individuals, so they can’t just wait until drugs disappear from their saliva.

The consequences of failing a drug test at Amazon will be handled differently, depending on available positions. Anyone involved in the logistics will likely be fired, as the occupation is described as being safety-sensitive.

Will other employers know if I fail a drug test?

The fact of you failing a drug test will only be revealed in a ‘reference check’ when HR contacts your previous employers to check if the information you’ve given them is true.

While your former employer might not reveal this information, you may be required to disclose it yourself. Otherwise this will be seen as dishonest, and if your failed drug test comes to light later, you may risk losing your job.

For example, bus drivers should make it known to new companies about their record of failing a drug and alcohol test. If an individual has undergone substance abuse counseling and treatment, it’s likely that new employer will be understanding.

Scenario two: an individual has failed a random drug test

Random drug tests are common in many workplaces throughout the USA. The type of non-DOT screening can range from single-panel marijuana testing to 10-panel drug tests that will look for ten different illicit substances and prescription drugs.

Your rights will depend on the state laws, as well as particular company’s drug-free workplace programs. Let’s look at some key questions:

How do I explain a failed drug test?

Drug screenings occur in many workplaces to ensure employees’ ability to do their jobs, and that their condition doesn’t put others in danger, which can result from alcohol or drug use.

If you’ve failed a drug test, the course of action will depend on the employer, as well as substance which tested positive.

Medical marijuana is becoming increasingly common in the USA. Local laws may differ, but there are many states where it’s legal to consume marijuana with high THC content.

The above doesn’t mean that every company will allow marijuana use, even if you live in one of the legal states. You should discuss this with your manager, because failed THC drug test could result in you losing your job position.

If you believe you’ve tested false positive, you may also want to ask your manager if you can re-take a drug test. Some people who don’t consume marijuana have failed a drug screen for THC after taking CBD oil.

Can you retake drug test after failing it?

It will depend on the company’s policy. In some cases, participation in addiction treatment programs or an employee assistance program may be required before you can re-take drug test and return to duty if it comes back negative.

If you fail a pre-employment drug test, you probably won’t have the opportunity to take it again at the same company, but it’s not the end of life or conviction. There are many jobs that don’t drug test at all.

How to keep your job after failing a drug test?

If you have an addiction problem, you may be required to undergo treatment and rehabilitation process before going back to work. All employers are different, and companies tend to have their own policy regarding whether you can keep your job.

Scenario three: an individual fails probation drug test

Drug screening of people on probation is very common. Your probation officer may request you to take drug tests regularly or at random if there’s suspicion of addiction-related behavior.

The first violation of the probation terms usually results in a warning and some community service. However, after subsequent probation violations the officer may revoke it depending on your criminal record.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will inconclusive drug tests be sent to a lab?

An inconclusive result could happen for several reasons, but most likely the sample was contaminated. Inconclusive results usually require you to attend another pre-employment drug test.

Are doctors allowed to share test results?

Screening results fall into the same category as other confidential medical information. This means it can only be shared on a need-to-know basis. That said, the law can differ from state to state, but in general it’s unlikely that your results or treatment history will be shared without your knowledge.

Will they take my baby if I test positive at birth?

Drug testing of newborn babies is common across the USA. If a drug test shows illicit substances in your child’s system, it’s likely that you will be reported to Child Protective Services (CPS).
You’ll likely need to complete an addiction treatment program, commit to regular drug tests, and you may receive inspection visits regularly too.