Companies That Drug Test

Companies That Drug Test

Even though many of us dislike and disapprove of them, drug tests have become a standard part of employment. If most people want to work these days, they will probably have to submit to some sort of drug test. There are some ways to get around the testing and some possibility of challenging them.


This means that most of us will have to go through a drug test of some sort sooner or later. It also means that you will have to find some method of dealing with it.

Something to be aware of is that there is no cut and stone policy on drug testing. Some employers including the US federal government and many retailers routinely test all employees. Others only test those who might be operating vehicles or potentially dangerous machinery.

Some testing is also very unfair since some large companies test ordinary workers but refuse to test executives. A few companies do no testing at all. Unfortunately in most cases, corporations are well within their legal rights when they require a drug test.

Legality of Drug Testing

Although many people consider it to invasive and perhaps unconstitutional, employment drug testing is usually legal in the United States. The reason for this is that employment is a purely voluntary activity based upon an agreement between you and an employer. You have the right to refuse to take the test, but the employer has the right to refuse to give you a job.

If you are employed on at will basis as most American workers are, the employer can terminate you at any time. Of course, you have the right to walk away at any time.

If your employment involves a union or other contract, drug testing could be mandated by the contractor. If you signed a contract that requires drug testing, you are legally bound to take the test.

Employers do have the right to fire employees that fail a drug test under the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988. Some state laws also give employers that right. There are some laws that encourage employers to offer employees that fail the test drug testing or counseling.

There are also some businesses and industries where drug testing is required by law. This includes airlines, trucking and the transportation field. It should be noted that there are valid reasons to test workers in some professions for drugs; nobody wants a bus driver or a pilot to be stoned on the job.

Something to be aware of is that it is possible to challenge workplace drug testing with a lawsuit. Unfortunately, it is only possible to challenge random drug testing for employees on the job. A court could order a company to give somebody his job back if he refused to comply with a random drug test. The reason for this is that some lawyers believe such tests are a violation of the Fourth and 14th Amendments to the US Constitution. These amendments guarantee privacy and prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures.

It should be noted that this only applies to random drug tests. Pre-employment drug tests are generally not viewed as a violation of rights. Testing for persons that are visibly high or drunk or persons involved in accidents could also be considered valid.

How to Tell if Your Company Performs Drug Tests

The best way to tell if a particular employer performs drug testing is to simply come out and ask. If you are applying for a job, simply ask if a drug test is required. Many organizations will require a urine test as a prerequisite for employment.

There are a number of Web sites that track companies that drug test. operates a searchable database of companies. Unfortunately, this information can be incomplete. Corporate policy often changes and there are many organizations that only submit some of their employees to a drug test. This is very useful because it lists the kind of test.

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One problem is that with the sour economy, employers can be choosy. Some organizations that were limiting drug testing a few years ago because they needed workers are now testing everybody. Another problem is that employers in the lower end of the job market such as retailers are more likely to drug test.

Persons who work in certain fields in businesses should expect to undergo a test as a prerequisite to employment. Workplaces where you are most likely to encounter drug testing include.

  • Almost all government agencies
  • Trucking companies
  • Bus companies
  • Cab and limo companies
  • Major retailers including Wal-Mart and major supermarket chains
  • Manufacturing
  • Temporary agencies
  • Warehouses
  • Utilities
  • Gambling and casinos
  • People that work with cash
  • Government contractors

Something to remember is that larger employers will be more likely to drug test than smaller ones. Some employers are also required to drug test by law or their insurance policies. If you want to work in some fields such as trucking, be ready to undergo a drug test because it is mandated by federal law.

Most government agencies drug test and most companies that have government contracts are required to drug test. If you want a government job even with local government, be prepared for drug testing. Also, be careful; many more companies have government contracts than you might realize. Some employers may let you work without a test provided you agree to work onto contracts.

Since companies are in business to make money, most of them will only implement testing when it makes financial sense for them to do so. Many temporary agencies only test if their client pays for it. Other companies will drug test only where an employee’s actions could expose them to losses or a lawsuit.

For example, a manufacturer might drug test people that use machinery such as forklifts, but not the office staff. Persons that handle large amounts of cash such as casino workers are often tested as well.  In some cases, such testing is required by insurance policies.

The best way to determine an employer’s drug testing policy is to talk to some of the employees or ex-employees. Many organizations have strict policies on paper that are ignored in real life. Others selectively enforce policies. A job applicant that walks in off the street gets tested, but the boss’s son is not. Finding out what the policy is can help you decide if you want to work somewhere or not.

Preparing for a Drug Test

The bad news is that you will probably have to undergo a drug test particularly if you want to do things like eat and put a roof over your head. The good news is that it is often much easier to get around pre-employment drug testing than you might think.

Most employers use a urine test because it is the cheapest and easiest. It is also among the easiest for employees to pass. The easiest method of passing one is to simply go cold turkey for a period of time before the test. Simply give yourself time to let the drugs pass out of your system.

Amount of time you need to be off of substances for a urine test:

Type of Drug                                              Number of Days Needed to Get it Out of Your System

Alcohol 3 days
Marijuana 7 days for limited users 1 month in heavy users
Methadone 3 days
Codeine 3 days
Cotinine 3 days
Barbiturates 1 day
Methamphetamine 3 days
Cocaine 5 days
Heroin 4 days
Morphine (including pain relievers) 4 days
Amphetamines 5 days

A good rule of thumb is to simply not use the substance for a week before the test. It might also be a good idea to simply not use the substance while you are looking for a job.

Something to realize is that there is no hard and fast rule about how long a particular substance stays in the body. Everybody’s body is different, so some substances may stay in some individuals’ bodies longer. For example, fat people who smoke marijuana are more likely to have it stay in their system for several days or weeks.

There are other kinds of drug testing out there such as hair and blood samples. These are rarely done in the workplace because of the high cost. Be prepared for such tests though if there is an accident investigation or some other procedure that might lead to court action.

Urine tests are not always reliable and are sometimes not accepted as evidence in the courts. The courts consider blood or hair analysis more reliable, so insurance company investigators and the police often use them. Don’t expect to undergo such testing as a regular part of your employment. Almost all employee drug screening involves urine tests.

Cleansing and Drug Testing

There are a wide variety of products and methods of cleansing or purging your body of drugs and the chemicals that make them up. This method can help you pass a drug test.

These cleanses generally work best for urine tests because they can purge the urine from the system. They can also help speed up the natural cleansing process.

One good way to enhance the body’s natural cleansing is to simply drink a lot of water. Drink several large glasses of water a day. You can add lemon juice or apple cider to the water to enhance the effects of the cleansing.

There are also a number of tea drinks on the market. Some of these promise to be able to cleanse the system in 90 days. It is impossible to verify these claims, but it would be a good idea to be off the drugs for a few days before the test.

Other solutions available include tablets. Taking these can enhance the effects of detoxification. Generally though, it’s not a good idea to try and beat a drug test right away. It takes time for substances to clear your system.

Try taking a sauna before the drug test. It can get some of the chemicals out of your system. Some experts also recommend that you should stop exercising a few days before the test. Exercise can raise the level of a substance called THC in your system. That can be detected and could lead to a positive on the test.

Try to give yourself at least 24 hours to clear the system. The best way to beat drug tests though is to be aware of how they work. Here are some brief descriptions of popular kinds of drug tests.


This test popularly called peeing in a cup is the most popular because it is the cheapest and easiest to administer. Some of the methods are very unreliable so be careful. The chart above shows you how long to wait to beat this. Cleansing can also beat this test.

Sometimes giving a larger sample or urinating a while before giving the sample will help you pass this test. Urinalysis is commonly done in a doctor’s office or medical facility. The results are then sent to a laboratory where a number of different tests maybe performed.

Hair Tests

This is generally the most accurate test, but it is also expensive and rarely used. Some reports indicate that it is widely used in the casino industry. Hair testing is the hardest to beat because drugs can remain in hair for up to 90 days. There are some reports that indicate that persons with dark hair are more likely to test positive. Hair testing is very accurate, so it is often employed by police and insurance investigators because it is more likely to stand up in court. For a hair test to be effective, around 50 hairs are usually collected. The testing can be done anywhere on your body, so the only way to prevent it would be to shave everywhere. This is the hardest drug test to beat.

Saliva Test

The tester takes a sample of salvia from your mouth. This is not a very common test, but it can be done by law enforcement. Generally, the saliva is tested much like your blood is. A chemical analysis is done on the sample to verify the presence of drugs. There are products available online that purport to fool the saliva test by altering the chemical make of the saliva. Their effectiveness is questionable.

Sweat Patches

This is a very new and rather rare test. In it, samples of sweat are collected and tested much like saliva is. The collection method is a patch that is put on your skin. Since this is not very invasive and easy to perform, it could become more common in the future. It is also highly likely that products claiming to be able to fool the test will become available in the future.

Blood Test

Even though it can be accurate, blood testing is fairly rare. The reason it is not done is that it is harder to administer and often leads to more objections. The test usually requires the use of a hypodermic needle to draw blood. It must be administered by a trained medical professional, so it is expensive. Generally, blood tests are only performed by doctors or law enforcement.


A machine that measures the alcohol content of your breath, it is generally used by law enforcement to detect drunk drivers. It is rarely used in the work place, but maybe employed if drinking on the job is suspected. You probably won’t have to worry about this one.

Future of Drug Testing

It is hard to see what the future of drug testing is. More companies seem to be mandating it, but the enforcement is often spotty. One problem is that the testing is getting easier and cheaper. That means it may become more common in some businesses.

Many more employees could be exposed to it. Whether this will lead to a backlash, demands for the testing to be limited are unknown.


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