Last Updated on November 13, 2019 by Morris Green
Refusing to take a drug test is much like refusing to take a breathalyzer; it’s your right to say no, but just taking the test is usually the better option. The question you pose shouldn’t be whether you can refuse a drug test, but instead whether refusal is a smart decision.
Drug tests are ordered for many reasons. If you’re starting a new job, your employer will likely request a drug screening. If you’re working, your employer might ask for a random test. In some cases, even your doctor may request a drug test for medical reasons. The point is the request to take a drug test can crop up at any time for any number of reasons.
Can I Say “No”?
Here’s the simple answer: Yes, you can say no to a drug test. However, the consequences could be far worse than simply taking it.
According to Nolo.com, most people feel drug testing is unfair, which is why their initial reaction is to say no. If we were to engage in a philosophical or political argument, then there are plenty of reasons to refuse a drug test in protest. But let’s look at the situation from the requester’s viewpoint.
When an Employer Requests a Drug Test
Drugs affect the brain in negative ways. They lessen productivity, change a person’s behavior, and almost always contribute to rash and unsafe decision making.
Imagine sitting at your desk in the office. You’re hammering out the day’s agenda only to be interrupted by a commotion just outside your workspace. It sounds like a scuffle. You leave your desk to investigate, only to find a co-worker engaged in a fight to the death with the shared office printer, and the printer isn’t winning.
Your co-worker’s behavior is outlandish. In an attempt to subdue them, punches are thrown, and other co-workers are injured.
Now imagine the reason for the attack on the printer was drugs. Your co-worker was high at the office and hallucinating. Not only did their drug use cause property damage, but it resulted in a major disruption and physical harm.
Although this situation may read like something from Office Space, it aptly represents what can happen if an employee is using drugs. Their use puts everyone and everything at risk. As such, employers request drug screenings prior to and sometimes during employment to ensure the workplace remains safe for everyone.
The Consequences of Saying “No”
The unfortunate reality is that saying no to a drug test automatically raises suspicion. Why did the person refuse? Do they know they’ll test positive? Are they hiding something? Refusal to take a drug test can result in termination of employment, and refusal to take a court-ordered screening could result in legal charges.
The best course of action is to take the test. Although a moderate inconvenience, it contributes to a safer work environment and shows good faith. If your reason for refusing a drug test is because of a drug addiction problem, then it’s time to seek professional help.