What happens if you fail a pre-employment drug screen?

If you test positive for the drugs in your pre-employment drug test, the tester will declare you failed your drug test. In that case, the employer may make necessary decisions as per the company’s drug-testing policy. Most probably, you may not get your desired job. The employer should use the best drug testing kits to test the individual during the pre-employment drug test to get precise results.

The Federal and the State Government does not create any laws regarding the employer’s employment decisions (except that of DOT regulations). So, the employer can take their hiring decisions accordingly after you failed your pre-employment drug test.

Table of Contents

  • Failed Drug Test – Statistics
  • When are Pre-employment drug tests required?
  • Consequences of failing your pre-employment drug test
  • Does a failed pre-employment drug test have legal implications?
  • How long does the failed drug test stay on record?
  • Can I reapply after my failed pre-employment drug test?

Failed Drug Test – Statistics

  1. The U.S Drug test failures reached 4.5% in 2019, the highest in the past 16 years.
  2. The Pandemic played a significant role in the increase of drug users in the United States.
  3. Marijuana is the most abused drug among other illicit drugs that are tested during pre-employment.
  4. Positive drug test results are happening around several industries, including retail, food services, advocacy, etc.
  5. You need to understand the context of your positive results. If you are sure about not undergoing drugs, there is a possibility that you might have got a false positive. Make sure that you require your tester to conduct the test with the same sample to confirm the result.

When are Pre-employment drug tests required?

An employer may require an individual to take the pre-employment drug test after the interview and successful selection. It is up to the employer to conduct the pre-employment drug test. But when it comes to safety-sensitive positions, the employer must conduct the drug test before appointing him to the particular position. The DOT (Department of Transportation) requires the employer to run a drug test before employing a candidate in any safety-sensitive position.

Consequences of failing your pre-employment drug test

The consequences may not be the same for all the states in the USA, as each state has its drug testing policies. For instance, Alaska employers may not hire a person who tested positive for drugs, while in some states, an employer may hire you as per their laxation in their drug testing policy.

Note: This does not apply to safety-sensitive jobs as the employer strictly abides by the DOT drug testing guidelines during the drug test. That means, if you fail your DOT drug test, there is no way you will get into the job unless you successfully complete your DOT Return-to-Duty Process.

However, the candidate has the right to explain the positive results within ten days of the results. If your positive result is a false-positive, then there are chances the tester would be required to conduct another test using the same sample you provided.

Does a failed pre-employment drug test have legal implications?

Generally, the employer may not have any legal implications or report to the authorities if you fail your pre-employment drug test. You may be reported if you failed the random drug test as an employee. That too can differ according to the companies’ drug testing policies.

If you fail your probation drug test, the probation officer might report to the court or legal authorities, leading to an increase in fines or extension of the jail period. This might not happen if you fail your pre-employment drug test.

If you are worried, it is best to use home-based urine drug testing kits to test for the drugs. This might give you the confidence to face your real drug test.

How long does the failed drug test stay on record?

Your positive result may stay in the drug and alcohol clearinghouse until you complete your Return-to-Duty process successfully along with the follow-up drug testing. If you fail your pre-employment drug test conducted by sectors other than safety-sensitive positions, they rarely keep you on record.

Can I reapply after my failed pre-employment drug test?

Of course, you can. You can reapply for your position as per the particular company guidelines. Most retail brands and corporate companies allow the candidates to reapply after 3 to 6 months after their failed pre-employment drug test.

Final words

As per the state’s Drug-Free Workplace Program (DFWP), the employer conducts the pre-employment drug test without compromising their drug testing policy. If you fail your drug test, you should not panic and follow the following steps by cooperating with the employer. The employer should consult with their legal counsel regarding the questions and concerns about drug testing employees and candidates.