Workplace Drug Testing
What if you fail workplace drug testing?
Suppose you're facing a drug test in your office. Perhaps you know there's nothing to worry about; you're going to breeze right through. But on the other hand, there's that lingering worry in the back of your mind. what does happen if you fail your workplace drug testing?
First of all, your workplace - office, warehouse, or factory - has to prove that you are, in fact, using drugs. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which regulates workplace drug testing, this may be determined by a number of ways:
- Direct observation, i.e. someone saw you snort something in the bathroom
- A drug test that is verifiably positive
- A voluntary admission or confession to drug use
- Evidence from an arrest or criminal conviction.
If your workplace has probable cause, it can request a drug test in order to verify use. Although you're not legally bound to test, a refusal is taken as a sign of guilt; guilty until proven innocent, as they say. You can be fired for saying "No."
On a more positive note, you probably won't be arrested. Of course, it all depends on how strict the laws are in your local jurisdiction, but with the government supporting treatment over punishment, court action is highly unlikely. However, if you are caught with drugs in your possession, losing your job will be the least of your worries - you will be arrested and face criminal proceedings.
Your employer has a few options if you've flunked. If you're taking the test pre employment, you won't receive a job offer. Sorry. But if you are already employed and have failed a random or mandatory test, then it depends on your workplace's drug policy. Not every office is zero tolerance, but the federal government still requires some disciplinary action. This can range from dismissal to a written reprimand to a suspension from work.
However, if you voluntarily admit drug use, seek out counseling and refrain from ever touching drugs again; your employer will be limited in disciplining you. Some employers will even offer an assistance or counseling program, as treatment is often less expensive in the long run than firing and hiring new workers. Large businesses might even cover the cost of the treatment.
But if you refuse counseling, or if you are caught using drugs a second time, you can kiss your current job, and possibly any future employment, good-bye.