Can I refuse a drug or alcohol test?


You drag yourself to work after a big night out drinking way too much alcohol and finishing the night off with some recreational drugs. You’ve a splitting headache and feel awful, but that’s the least of your worries as your workplace has sprung random drug and alcohol testing.

You start to sweat and consider your chances and then think of a potential solution: “Can I refuse a drug test? Can I refuse an alcohol test?”

These are great questions and it probably pays to have the answers before you turn up to work under the influence. So, what are the answers?

In simple terms, the answer is yes. You most certainly can refuse to undertake drug and alcohol testing if you wish. But, and there is a big but, there are likely to be serious consequences!

As one of our Facebook visitors noted in a recent post about whether you can legally carry out drug and alcohol testing in your workplace, it’s certainly not a legal offence to refuse a drug or alcohol test in the workplace. If you refuse to take a drug test or refuse to take an alcohol test in your workplace, however, you may breach your employment conditions.

You certainly could and should check your employment conditions if you put yourself into this situation. However, as long as your employer has policies and procedures in place regarding drugs and alcohol in the workplace, and the policy provides details on the testing carried out and the consequences of refusing testing, you most likely don’t have a leg to stand on.

So, the question you should ask yourself when you’re in this situation is not can I refuse a drug test or can I refuse an alcohol test, but what is my best option?

While it might not seem it when you’re waiting to give a sample, knowing you could fail the drug test or the alcohol test (or perhaps even both!), honesty is often the best policy. Generally, it’s better to undertake the testing and hope the alcohol and drugs have passed through your system, and that the results will be negative. However, if you do provide a positive result, ensure a second test is undertaken so the result can be properly verified.

The other thing you should do is hope (or pray if you’re that way inclined) that your workplace doesn’t have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Some workplaces do, particularly those where safety is a very high priority, while others will provide support and education for first time offenders.

Can I refuse a drug test? Can I refuse an alcohol test? If you think you may be under the influence it might seem tempting but, generally, you’re better to take the test.

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

Leave a comment