Can I Be Drug Tested over the Holidays?

Can I Be Drug Tested over the Holidays?

Many DOT-regulated workers do not get a break over the holidays. Truckers still need to transport goods. Trains still need to haul cargo, and planes still need to haul people.

Random drug testing can happen at any time, which begs the question: can you be drug tested over the holidays? Let’s review the DOT drug testing policies so you can make smart choices this winter.

DOT Drug Testing Doesn’t Stop during the Holidays

Your employer could request a drug test at any time of the year, including holidays. If you’re in an accident during crazy holiday traffic, you may have to submit to a post-accident drug test. If you get hired with a new employer around the holidays, you’ll still need to complete pre-employment drug testing. These protocols do not go away simply because of the time of year.

You Likely Won’t Be Drug Tested on Your Days Off

Even though drug testing is possible during the holidays, it is unlikely that your employer will request a test outside of working hours. Thus, if you are scheduled off around Thanksgiving or Christmas, you won’t have to take any drug tests. There are very few instances where drug testing is permissible outside of working hours, so this shouldn’t be a concern throughout the year.

Random Drug Tests Are Uncommon during the Holidays

It is possible that your employer conducts a random drug test around the holidays, but it is unlikely. Each employer has its own rules and regulations regarding how often random drug testing occurs. Typically, it is once per quarter. Most employers will conduct the fourth quarter drug tests before the holidays or in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This bypasses schedule conflicts or staff adjustments during a stressful time of year.

Holiday Scheduling May Impact Testing Availability

The drug testing provider may have special hours during the holiday season. This could impact drug testing availability, which affects how likely you are to be drug tested over the holidays. Employers may adjust their expectations to accommodate these schedule conflicts.

Err on the Side of Caution – Avoid a Positive DOT Drug Test

The best practice is to always assume you could be subject to drug testing, no matter what time of year it is. You may not be able to control outside circumstances, like getting into an accident while operating a work vehicle. It is better to be prepared for the unexpected than to be unexpectedly out of work.

Be aware of your employer’s drug and alcohol policy. DOT-regulated employees are not allowed to consume THC, even in states that legalize marijuana. If you fail a drug test for THC or other prohibited substances, you will be removed from safety-sensitive job duties. Then you’ll have to complete a SAP program or Return-to-Duty process before resuming those tasks.

American Substance Abuse Professionals has helped thousands of DOT employees get back to work after a failed drug test.

John Norwood
John Norwood is best known as a technology journalist, currently at Ziddu where he focuses on tech startups, companies, and products.