How a Refusal to Test and Failed DOT Drug Test Face the Same Consequences

failure to pass DOT drug test


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? A Department of Transportation (DOT) drug test can occur during many points of employment and 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 penalty as failing a DOT drug test – per DOT regulations, your employer must immediately remove you from safety-sensitive duties. Your employer has a company policy that indicates whether to terminate your employment or allow for a second chance program. However, you cannot perform any safety-sensitive responsibilities until you have completed the DOT Return-to-Duty process (RTD) with a qualified DOT 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 several scenarios that count as refusal to test. Here is a list of scenarios that qualify as refusals:

  • Missing 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, but had commenced
  • Not providing enough urine when directed within the allotted timeframe
  • In the case of an observed urine collection, failing to permit the observation
  • Declining an additional drug test when requested by the 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 test 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

Upon any of the above circumstances occurring, your employer must immediately remove you from all safety-sensitive duties. This includes pre-employment candidates applying for a DOT-covered position. Following being relieved of duty, you must complete the RTD process outlined by a qualified DOT SAP before returning to work.

Refusal to Test Becomes a Violation in the FMCSA Clearinghouse

If you refuse a DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) drug test, the employer is required by FMCSA regulations to enter that as a violation into the FMCSA Clearinghouse. This violation would prompt you to have to complete the RTD process to return to safety-sensitive work. If you change employment, this violation will follow you to your next employer and you will not be allowed to start work until the RTD process is completed.

Return to Duty Process after You Refuse to Take a DOT Drug Test

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

American Substance Abuse Professionals, Inc. has a nationwide reach in all 50 states and U.S. territories. 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.


Do you need Substance Abuse Professional Services?

ASAP has a nationwide reach in all 50 states and U.S. territories. 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

Scroll to Top