A background check doesn’t have to include a drug test, but there are certainly times when it will be a requirement. Whether you have to take one or not depends on the job and the company’s own drug screening policy. For example, some fields – like government, healthcare, and transportation – require regular tests, often by law. And although you’ll find that tests are rarer in other industries such as retail or administration, they’re still quite prevalent and it’s up to the company to make its own policy.
There are a few reasons why companies do drug tests as part of their background checks, but mainly it’s either to ensure a safe workplace, deter employees from using drugs, increase productivity, or to comply with local laws. It makes sense that pilots, construction workers, or any other job in which an accident could prove fatal, will be tested regularly. But there are some industries where drug tests are still required even if the stakes aren’t so high, like supermarkets and call centers, where it’s still common practice.
However, before any tests can be done, any prospective or current employers will have to get consent for drug screening. This is a legal requirement, and people do have the chance to refuse to undergo a drug test, although in some states employees can be fired for refusing.
So what happens if your drug test returns a positive result? Are you still likely to be hired? Often, if you fail your drug test it will cost you your job. Sometimes there are false positives (like testing positive for opiates by eating too many poppy seeds) and in this case, to prevent you from being fired, it’s essential to request another test.
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