It’s a Manic Monday! You still feel light-headed from last night’s booze party. As you drive yourself to work, you silently wish your supervisor won’t ask you to take your sunglasses off. But luck against luck, he tells you you’ll have a random drug test today the moment you enter your office.
So you get your mobile phone to search for your rights. Can you be randomly drug tested? Can you refuse? What will happen if you fail a random drug test?
Can Your Employer Random Drug Test You?
Yes, he can, if he has a well-documented drug testing policy in place. He should follow your state’s guidelines on providing notice and proper procedures for avoiding discrimination and inaccurate sampling.
Can Your Company Test You Without Warning?
Try to remember the day you applied for your job. Were you informed that passing a drug test is a requirement for employment? And that it conducts random drug tests periodically?
If yes, then the company isn’t random drug testing you without warning. From day one, you knew such a test could happen anytime to any employee.
And yes, notices for random drug tests are given the same day. There’s no need to wonder why your superior only informed you that you’d be undergoing the test today.
Can You Refuse to be Drug Tested?
Yes, you can refuse a drug test, primarily because no federal laws govern such a procedure. That is if you’re working in a non-safety sensitive job in a private company.
However, the consequences might not be in your favor. Your superior can suspend you for disobedience, or worse, fire you.
But if you’re working in the trucking, railroad, aviation, mass transportation, and similar industries, you can’t refuse. It’s because people’s safety can be at risk if you’re under the influence.
What Happens If You Fail a Random Drug Test?
Let’s assume you agreed to do the test. You don’t smell of alcohol, anyway. Plus, you’ve read somewhere that the effects of alcohol only last about three hours. So what gives?
EtG, the metabolite of alcohol, is detectable in drug tests for up to 80 hours. So you will test positive for the substance if you drank the night before.
So what happens?
When you fail a drug test, your employer can do the following:
- Recommend you for EAP
- Disqualify you for promotion
- Fire you
Recommend You for EAP
If your company has an Employee Assistance Program, then you’re in luck. It’s a free work-based program that provides private evaluation, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees undergoing personal or work-related issues like you. Some companies even extend assistance to the families of their employees enlisted in this program.
Disqualify You for Promotion
Yes, your employer can do so, but not if you agree to undergo a rehabilitation program. It’s because the Family and Medical Leave Act prevents employers from retaliating against workers who request FMLA leave. So if you do fail a drug test, take advantage of this leave not only to get that long-desired promotion but, more importantly, lead a new life.
Your employer can fire you if, after testing positive, you refuse to undergo the rehabilitation program. If you agree to go through the program but don’t complete it, he can also terminate you, following the authorities’ guidelines.
What happens if you fail a drug test? Your employer can recommend you for rehab, deny you for promotion, or terminate you.
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