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