Can You Still Get Hired If You Fail A Workplace Drug Test?

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on April 15, 2023
Fikret Terzic

Written by: Fikret Terzic MD, MS

In Ohio, many employers will not hire you until you pass a drug test. These tests check for illegal drug use as well as prescription drug abuse. If you fail, the company may rescind your job offer. However, you can request a follow-up test if you suspect a false positive.

When applying for a job in Ohio, you may have to take a pre-employment drug test. These tests help employers determine if a job applicant is using illegal drugs (such as methamphetamine or PCP) or misusing prescription drugs (such as prescription opioids or amphetamines). 

Most companies use urine drug tests, though some use blood, hair, or saliva tests.

If you recently failed a workplace drug test, you’re probably wondering if you can still get hired. 

Can You Still Get Hired If You Fail A Workplace Drug Test?

Failing a workplace drug test means getting a positive drug test result. When this happens, the test result gets sent to a medical review officer to ensure accuracy. 

If the result is deemed accurate, the employer may decide that you are no longer eligible for the job. However, this depends on the company’s policies. 

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Company Policy

Some companies clearly state that the offer of employment depends on the applicant’s ability to pass a pre-employment drug screening. In many cases, you can find this statement on the job posting or offer letter. 

Even if a company has this type of policy, though, a failed drug or alcohol test doesn’t always mean you won’t get the job. 

False Positive

If you think it was a false positive, you can ask to retest. Many legal substances can produce false positives, including poppy seeds, certain prescription medications, and CBD oils with low amounts of THC. 

You can also ask to retest if you think you failed because you legally use medical marijuana (cannabis). In that case, you will need to provide proof of medical marijuana use, such as your medical marijuana card. 

Taking A Follow-Up Test

Before you take the follow-up test, you will likely be asked to provide a list of all the substances you use, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and herbal supplements. If you pass this test, the company may restore your job offer. 

However, some companies don’t offer follow-up tests.

Safety-Sensitive Positions 

Federal law forbids companies that are regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) from hiring anyone who has failed a drug test for “safety-sensitive positions.” 

Safety-sensitive positions are jobs in which you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others. Examples include drivers, pilots, and equipment operators.

Will A Failed Drug Test Affect Your Future Career?

When you lose a job offer due to a failed drug test, you might wonder how the situation will affect your future employment. 

Specifically, you may worry that the company will share your test results with other potential employers. This usually does not happen. In fact, it’s generally illegal for private companies to share information from your background check with other parties. 

Department Of Transportation (DOT) Jobs

A failed test, however, may affect your career if you are applying for a safety-sensitive position at a company that’s regulated by the Department of Transportation (DOT). 

To become eligible for such a job after failing a drug test, you must complete the DOT Return to Duty (RTD) process with a qualified DOT Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). 

This process involves an initial assessment and evaluation, addiction treatment recommendations, and a follow-up evaluation. Once you complete this process, you can reapply for a safety-sensitive position.

Can You Lose Your Job If You Fail A Workplace Drug Test?

Some companies conduct random drug tests for current employees. If you fail one of these tests, you could lose your job. 

However, some employers will give you a second chance, especially if you agree to seek treatment for substance abuse. In Minnesota and Vermont, for example, state law prevents employers from firing employees for failed drug tests if they agree to go to treatment.

Also, as with pre-employment drug testing, you can ask to retest if you suspect a false positive. 

How To Pass A Workplace Drug Test

To pass a workplace drug test, you must avoid using drugs unless they were prescribed by a healthcare provider. 

If you feel unable to control your drug use, you may have drug addiction (also called substance use disorder). This serious disease can cause a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • frequent drug cravings
  • tolerance (needing increasingly larger or more frequent doses of a drug to feel the desired effects)
  • physical dependence (experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use drugs) 
  • loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • loss of motivation
  • trouble concentrating at work or school
  • isolation

If you or someone you love shows signs of addiction, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our substance abuse treatment programs offer medical detox, behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based services to help you or your loved one stay drug-free.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Drug Misuse and Addiction
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Drug Testing Resources
  3. United States Department of Transportation — Employees

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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