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Drug and Alcohol Test at Work

Drug and Alcohol Test at Work | What Happens When You Fail

Drug and Alcohol Test at Work: What happens when you failThere are quite a few possible outcomes if you fail a drug test screening at work. Each employer handles such circumstances differently. You should refer to the handbook for your job or check with human resources if you aren’t aware of the policies and procedures.

Today, more employers are trying to offer help for those that need it. Others though, continue to have a Zero Tolerance policy.

If failing the urine test is not an option you can live with, check out the reliable procedure for getting over that hurdle: I can’t afford to test positive.

Drug and Alcohol Test: The Final Hurdle 

Many places of employment have security procedures that are adhered to.  When you are offered a job there, a drug and alcohol screening will be the final hurdle before being hired.   You need to know, if you’ve been ‘dabbling’ with certain substances, figure out how to get by that drug screen.

Some companies use random drug screenings and Breathalyzer Tests as part of their security procedures.  If one should fail a drug test, you are deemed unfit for duty and your security clearance is pulled.  If you fail a breathalyzer test, you will be asked to leave work for the day. 

Second Test

If you feel that you are the victim of a false positive result, you have the option of asking for a second test to be done. Most of the time, the employer will comply as they do want things to be accurate. They may do a different type of testing the second time. For example, if they did a urine sample the first time the second drug test may be a blood sample. They may opt to send you to a local testing facility for the second test rather than doing it in house.

Some company programs take your original sample and ‘split’ it into two equal samples.  One is frozen and stored.  If the urine test results are challenged, the frozen specimen will be used for a retest.

Drug Test Chain of Custody

When you provide a specimen for a urine drug test, there is a ‘Chain of Custody’ protocol that must be adhered to, in order to avoid challenges that the samples were loosely controlled and may have gotten mixed up –or, some other similar challenge.  You will witness the sealing of the container(s) and that your name and numbers are on the label and you will sign a paper to acknowledge same.


You may be placed on probation if you have a drug test that is positive. During that period of time, the employer can retest you again. If you test positive again, they can fire you. They can do random drug testing at any point and if you refuse to take the test, they will likely fire you. If you do get a probationary period, it can vary in length. Typically, it is going to be from 6 months to 1 year.

Mandatory Treatment

Any employer that is going to place you on probation for a positive drug test has a vested interest in you. They are going to do what they can to help you get beyond the problem. They are going to mandate that you have an assessment done and that you follow a treatment plan. This may be an outpatient program with counseling sessions. If it is an inpatient setting, then they will hold your job until you return.

Some employers have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that you may be referred to if you fail to pass a drug test.  The EAP is there to help get you back on track, whether challenged by a drug test, alcoholism, family hardships, stress or other problems at work, etc.  See EAP video below.

Whatever the issue, if it is affecting your performance at work, they want to help get you back to being your old self.

Will I Be Fired?

Getting fired is a big possibility when you have a positive drug test at work. They don’t want to take the risk that a problem or Drug Test: Firedinjury could occur at the workplace. They don’t want to get sued by other employees either, or have the risk of you doing something in front of customers that would ruin the company reputation.

There are employers that simply will show you the door if you are using drugs. They have enough applicants that could step in, that will test clean and come into the workplace without the inherent risk and extra baggage.

If you have found any of this information to be useful, please ‘Share’ it, and/or ‘Like’ it so others can find it too.  Social buttons are found on each page.  Thank you for spending some time here.  Please share any insight you may have by leaving a comment below.

More Information:
Alcohol Screening, Breathalyzer
Drug Tests, Probation, Supervision

Image credits: auremar /123RF Stock Photo
alexskopje / 123RF Stock Photo

9 Responses to “Drug and Alcohol Test at Work”

  1. David Jerczak says:

    Conner –

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. We always like hearing from our visitors.

    You sound like you have a plan. Good luck to you.
    Dave J

  2. Connor says:

    Well, at some point we all gotta grow up and do the responsible things. In a few months I’ll be out of my dorm and for the first time in my life, I’ll be renting my own place. I’m gonna need a place I could call my own and I’ll need a job to pay for that. Unless I want to start my adulthood as a homeless man, I need to start taking some responsibility and stop smoking chronic. It starts today then.

  3. David Jerczak says:

    Chris –

    I’m sure they can’t just ‘pop’ it on you the first time. They need to give everyone a window with
    which to clean-up their act (so-to-say); a window within which everyone has to make the personal
    decision whether to comply, or not.

    You will have time (or, maybe not by now) to get it out of your system.
    If you need to beat the clock, see here: Drug Test Friend

    Good luck to you and thanks for visiting.

    Dave J

  4. Christopher says:

    The company that I work for has recently announced that they’ll start performing drug tests from this year and that everyone needs to consent to the test or they’ll have to resign from their position. My problem is that I’m a casual weed smoker and I’m surely going to test positive. I don’t know what to do. They’ll surely try to fire my ass if I test positive.

  5. David Jerczak says:

    Thanks for your note, Eva. I don’t disagree with you.
    The problem, as you probably know, is the lack of a test
    that can detect impairment, as we can with alcohol.

    If you used weed last week on your own time, it could still
    be detected but you’re obviously not impaired this morning at work.

    So, you are right. It is no one’s business. But it is all we have now.
    Someday that might change.

    Incidentally, the saliva tests do show promise to detect recent use.
    But it’s an expensive test and doesn’t get much use.

    Dave J

  6. Eva says:

    What’s up with all these companies putting their noses on people’s personal business? I can understand doing drug tests on jobs that require precision or jobs that are dangerous, but any other jobs shouldn’t require one to take drug tests. If I’m doing my job and if I’m productive, then why do I have to pee on a cup for anyone? This ridiculous and it just goes to show you that privacy in this country is no longer in existence.

  7. David Jerczak says:

    Thanks for the note, Debra. I hope it inspires some young folks who are struggling.

    Dave J

  8. Debra Rincon Lopez says:

    I guess people need to decide what’s more important drugs or alcohol or a roof over their heads? It will be hard to do but I would most certainly choose the roof over my head. I had a problem with drugs & alcohol for many yrs but now thanks to help of TREATMENT, Counseling, Meetings &1 on 1 Mental Health counseling, I AM Drug & alcohol FREE for NUMEROUS YEARS. I hope that you will DO THE Right thing for your FUTURE LIKE I DID.

  9. David Jerczak says:

    Whoa! Big step. Congratulations on that decision, Conner.
    Thanks for chiming in and best of luck to you.

    Dave J

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