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What happens if I fail a workplace drug test?

Drug testing happens before and during many jobs throughout the country. While such tests may seem straightforward, the results aren't always as cut and dried as you might think.

Certain conditions can create false-positive test results - leading to serious problems for you as an employee. Here's what you need to know:

Tests may not always be reliable

There can be several reasons why you could fail a drug test - even if you haven't taken illegal drugs. Tests can be faulty and pick up on other legally prescribed medications. Some of the substances that can trigger a false positive include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Over the counter medications, such as Tylenol

It may also be possible to receive a false-positive test result after eating foods containing poppy seeds - which come from the opium poppy plant.

Since drug tests may turn up positive from legal substances, a medical review officer should reach out to you after they find a positive test result. In this process, they will try to find out whether there is a valid explanation for why the test showed up this way.

What happens next?

After a positive result, it is ultimately up to your employer to decide how to handle it. If you have not yet been hired at the company in question, this test result may mean the employer doesn't make you a job offer. If you are already working at the company, your employer could terminate you or put you on probation. They may also require you to attend a substance abuse treatment program.

Recourse for false positive tests

If you feel that you are a victim of a false positive test, you don't have to sit back and accept consequences that negatively affect your career. You have the right to contest the results. In such situations, it is best to seek the help of an experienced employment lawyer. They can help you to stand up for your rights and bring you justice.

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