How to Get a Job after a Failed Drug Test


Failing a drug test does not necessarily mean that you’ll lose your job. However, you will be removed from any safety-sensitive job duties for DOT-regulated positions. Never fear. It is possible to get re-hired or get a new job after a failed drug test. Check out these tips from American Substance Abuse Professionals (ASAP).

Will I Get Fired from a DOT Job Because of a Failed Drug Test?

The choice to fire you or temporarily suspend your employment is up to your employer, not the Department of Transportation. The DOT sets protocol in place after a failed drug test, but it is the employer’s discretion to terminate or not. At minimum, the employer must remove you from safety-sensitive job duties. If you have to drive, fly, operate a train, or do anything else that impacts the safety of others, you will not be able to return to those tasks until you complete a SAP program.

Complete a SAP Program

A SAP program is a special process that you must go through before returning to work after a failed drug test. A substance abuse professional (SAP) will evaluate your circumstances and recommend the appropriate treatment, education, or counseling to get you back into work. For instance, you may have to take a course on the importance of safety in the workplace. You may be required to complete a certain number of sessions with a drug counselor. The plan is customized for you specifically.

If you successfully complete your SAP program, you will be eligible to retake your drug test and then re-apply for work. You will have to take additional drug tests for the next five years.

Consider an Alternative Source of Income during the Return-to-Duty Process

The Return-to-Duty process (RTD) can be lengthy, depending on the circumstances of your failed drug test. Because of this, you may need to seek alternative employment as you complete the program. You will not be eligible for DOT-regulated jobs, but you could perform job tasks that are not safety-sensitive. If you have sufficient savings to cover your absence, you could rely on that to support you during RTD.

Pass Follow-up Drug Testing for Job Re-Entry

Before you can apply for new work or return to your old job, you must pass a new drug test. You will also complete a minimum of six follow-up drug tests within the first 12 months. The tests will be random and unannounced to ensure you remain compliant with DOT work safety protocols. Follow-up drug testing occurs regardless of your employment status. Failure to comply may result in starting the SAP program all over again.

Do Not Apply for DOT-Regulated Work until the SAP Program Is Complete

Hold off on any DOT-regulated job applications into you are fully finished with your Return-to-Duty process. Otherwise, your application will be declined and you will lose out on a potential job opportunity. As soon as you get clearance from your SAP, you can begin seeking new work.

If you are re-applying for the same position, you could remain in contact with your former supervisor or human resources department. Just note that you will not be eligible to return to your former job duties until you have completed your SAP program.

Get Started – Enroll in a SAP Program near You

Ready to start the process of getting a job after a failed drug test? Reach out to ASAP to find a SAP near you. ASAP has a network of over 5,000 DOT-qualified SAPs, and most clients have their first consultation within 48 hours of enrollment.