Can you refuse random drug testing at work?


After a big weekend with mates, where you consumed a few beers and took ICE, you rock up to work on Monday morning feeling a little under the weather and tired. If you were honest with yourself, you’re probably still under the influence, having took your last hit only 10 hours ago. But you quickly sober up when you see that random drug testing is being conducted in your workplace.

“Maybe I won’t be tested,” you think to yourself. “Maybe the ICE will be out of my system. Maybe I can simply refuse to take a test.”

While the chances of you being tested may depend more on luck than anything else, we can be a little more definitive when looking at whether the ICE will be out of your system and whether you can refuse to partake in random drug testing.

Detection time for ICE

Detection times for any drug will depend on several factors, including how much was consumed, how it was consumed and the strength of the drug. There are also several individual factors that come into play, such as your body size, sex, age, metabolism and general health.

However, in general, we know that ICE can be detected up to 2 days after consumption, using saliva drug testing methods, and 4 days after consumption, using urine drug testing. This is one of the reasons why Integrity Sampling prefers saliva testing, as it’s a truer test of whether a person is fit and safe to be at work (see this recent article on urine drug testing versus saliva drug testing for more details).

What does this mean for you, when you’ve had ICE only 10 hours before random drug testing? You better cross all your fingers and toes, because there’s definitely a chance the drug may still be detectable.

Refusing random drug testing

The answer for whether you can refuse random drug testing at work is obviously yes. No one, including your employee, can make you take a drug test. The real question is, what are the consequences of refusing to undertake random drug testing?

The answer to this comes down to your employer’s policy on alcohol and drugs. If they have a detailed and robust policy, it should cover aspects such as what happens when someone refuses random drug testing and the consequences for the person involved. These consequences can, in the worst case, include termination of employment.

So, while you can certainly refuse drug testing, you’re probably better off taking the test and hope it’s not positive.

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll be OK!

Can you refuse random drug testing at work? The better question is, what will be the consequences if you do?

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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