What Happens If I Refuse to Take a DOT Drug Test?

What Happens If I Refuse to Take a DOT Drug Test?


A Department of Transportation (DOT) drug test can occur during many points of employment. You may know what happens when you fail a DOT drug test, but what if you refuse to take it altogether? Will that cost you your job, or can you simply retake the test in the future? In this article, we’ll discuss what happens after you refuse to take a DOT drug test.

Is a DOT Drug Test Refusal the Same as a Failed Drug Test?

Refusing to take a drug test has the same consequences as failing a drug test. Your employer must immediately remove you from safety-sensitive duties, per DOT regulations. Your employer has a company policy that indicates whether to terminate your employment, allows for a second chance program or allows you to perform non-safety sensitive work. However, you cannot perform any safety-sensitive responsibilities until you have completed the DOT Return-to-Duty process with a DOT qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

What Is Considered a Refusal to Test?

Simply saying “no” to a DOT drug test is not the only way to refuse to test. The DOT outlines a number of scenarios that count as “refusal to test.” Here is a list of refusals:

  • Not showing up for a urine collection or alcohol test after being directed by the employer (including an owner-operator)
  • Leaving the collection site before the test was complete
  • Not providing enough urine when directed
  • In the case of an observed urine collection, failing to permit the observation
  • Declining an additional drug test when requested by employer or collector
  • Not abiding by the steps in the urine collection process, such as emptying pockets or washing hands
  • Not cooperating during any point of the DOT drug and/or alcohol test
  • Wearing or possessing a prosthetic device that could be used to interfere with the collection process
  • Tampering with the collection
  • Admitting to falsifying the sample – i.e. telling your collector or MRO that you tampered with the specimen

As soon as any of these events occur, your employer must immediately remove you from all safety-sensitive duties. This also includes all pre-employment candidates, applying for a DOT covered position. You must then complete the Return-to-Duty process outlined by a DOT qualified SAP before returning to work.

How to Return to Work after You Refuse to Take a DOT Drug Test

After refusing a DOT drug and/or alcohol test, you will need to work with a DOT qualified SAP. You will meet with your SAP face-to-face for an evaluation. From there, your SAP will provide a treatment and/or education plan for you to follow. Once you have completed those steps, you will have another face-to-face meeting to determine if you are ready to return-to-work. You will be required to successfully pass a follow-up drug test before doing any safety-sensitive work.

American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. has over 5,000 DOT-qualified SAP locations in the United States. Our clients have an 85% success rate for returning to work. If you’d like to get matched with one of our Substance Abuse Professionals, call 888-792-2727 x177.


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Do you need Substance Abuse Professional Services?

ASAP offers a nationwide network of over 5,000 locations with DOT qualified SAPs. Our trained and knowledgeable team will assist you in understanding the process and signing up. It’s fast and easy to enroll with ASAP! 888.792.2727 x607

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