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Does UPS Drug Test?

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Understanding the UPS drug test process can be challenging. We break down the policy and when you can expect a test.


Does UPS Drug Test?

Drug testing is a hot-button issue in the United States. On one side, you have those who support drug testing to prevent accidents or violence in the workplace. Likewise, with the rise in recreation and medical marijuana, more organizations are finding an expanded workforce by dropping the drug testing requirement.

In question is UPS—Does UPS drug test? It’s a valid question. UPS is an excellent employer with union benefits and advancement opportunities, and there’s never a shortage of work. It makes sense that many people who partake in recreational marijuana would want to work for the company.

But landing the opportunity to work for the shipping giant could rest on a passing drug test. In this article, we will explore UPS’s drug testing policy and what it means for you.

Does UPS Drug Test?

The question of drug testing and UPS dramatically depends on the type of job you’re performing. More than likely, it’s best to expect one if you’re applying for an office job or a leadership position. However, employees working in the warehouse report a lack of drug testing for their roles.

Despite UPS having a relaxed testing routine, drivers must pass a DOT physical, which often includes a drug test. It is part of the DOT testing requirements. Federal law mandates that those operating heavy equipment, like semi-trucks, pass a drug test.

UPS seems to be pretty lax with its drug testing policy. UPS has the right to test employees whenever there are workplace accidents or suspicion. But outside that, UPS doesn’t perform what would be considered regular drug tests on its workers.

UPS Drug Test Policy Who Does UPS Drug Test?

The official UPS policy is that drivers obtain a DOT physical with a drug test. There are also random drug tests during employment for drivers and office staff. As mentioned, if there is an accident, you must get tested before any compensation pays out!

It’s important to remember that UPS can randomly test if they decide to. However, according to various employees I’ve spoken to, UPS doesn’t enforce this policy unless there is an apparent reason. It’s helpful to know which positions UPS drug tests for before applying, should you be unlucky enough to be tested.

What Positions Does UPS Drug Test?

UPS claims that a pre-employment drug screen is a standard part of every employee’s journey. Despite this claim, some positions are more likely to require a drug test. Usually, warehouse staff like dock workers, package handlers, or maintenance staff are less likely to need a test. These positions include drivers, heavy machinery operators, leadership, and aircraft pilots.

UPS’s drug testing policy is very relaxed, and many employees claim they have never had a drug screening. Likewise, other employees claim they needed a drug screening before receiving an offer letter. Those employees requiring a drug test were applying for heavy machinery work or truck driving positions, which require a DOT physical and passing a drug test.

How Often Does UPS Drug Test?

UPS performs drug tests before the first day if they decide to drug test you. Users on Indeed state they have never been drug tested during their tenure with the company. There is a requirement for a DOT physical for driving-related jobs. According to the Department of Transportation, these jobs may require a drug test before obtaining a passing score. These would be pre-employment screenings only.

Outside of the pre-employment drug screening, the only other time you would really need to test is if there is an accident. Typically, when you are hurt on the job, to be able to file for workers’ compensation, you will need to complete a drug screen. These tests are standard practice and regulated by law. If an employee is hurt on the job and is found to have drugs in their system, you lose at least half of the worker’s compensation.

Does UPS Drug Test at Orientation?

Drug tests are a common component of a conditional offer letter. These conditional offer letters confirm that you got the job but will have to pass a drug test before your offer is official. Typically during this stage, a background check will accompany a drug test. It is a rarity that a company would perform a drug test at orientation, but not entirely unheard of.

Based on employee testimony, you won’t be required to take a drug test at orientation. Orientation is meant to fill in new employees on the expectations of the job, some of the equipment you will be using, and policies and procedures. If a drug test was being requested, it would be before your first day and before your final offer.

Does UPS Drug Test After you get Hired?

UPS retains the right to perform random drug tests for any of its employees, should there be a reason to do so. However, in practice, the only time you will likely need a truck test after hiring is during the event of an accident. These drug tests are to fulfill requirements set forth by the federal government.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently made it more explicit about when to test employees after a workplace accident. They stated that it doesn’t violate federal law, and workers who are hurt on the job should prepare for a drug test. This test is to verify the sobriety of the worker in question and whether or not that impacted others in creating a safe working environment. These tests take place between 24 and 72 hours after injury.  

Does UPS do Random Drug Tests on Employees?

UPS maintains the right to perform random drug tests on employees as it sees fit. However, in practice, UPS doesn’t utilize its right to conduct drug testing. As several employees stated on Indeed, the company doesn’t find use in spending countless dollars performing drug tests. Instead, the company only performs drug tests when required by law, like in accidents.

Drug tests from UPS that result from an accident are far from random, either. You usually have a maximum of 48 to 72 hours to provide the drug test results, or you will give up any claim to worker’s compensation, as dictated by law.

What Panel Drug Test Does UPS Use? What Does UPS Test For?

Companies decide which drug panels they use. Because medical and recreational marijuana is increasingly legal, many panels are dropping THC from testing. Despite the policy change, THC is still on the standard drug panel. Understanding the drug test panel is essential, too. UPS uses a reasonably standard drug testing panel that includes the following:

  • Amphetamines like meth, ecstasy, or speed
  • THC, like marijuana or cannabinoids
  • Alcohol
  • Opiates like heroin, morphine, fentanyl
  • Cocaine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP, Angel Dust)

Of course, prescribed medication can sometimes throw these tests for a loop, causing false positives. You do run the risk during workers comp cases, as even your prescribed medicines can cause you to miss out on compensation. UPS doesn’t disqualify applicants based on these results, but be ready to share what medications caused the false positive.

How Long Does it Take for UPS Drug Tests and Background Checks to Come Back?

The length of time results take depends on the type of test that you receive. Mouth swab tests are becoming increasingly popular as results are typically ready within a few hours or up to a day. These tests require you to place a cotton swab tester into the mouth for a set amount of time. Testers then put these swabs into a chemical that reacts in the presence of drugs.

The second testing method is urine. Urine samples require you to essentially pee in a cup, which then gets tested. Negative results come back within a day or so. But, a positive sample requires further testing and can take upwards of a week for results to come back. Once the lab confirms a positive sample, they will notify you and ask about prescription medication that could have caused the outcome.

Can I Refuse a Drug Test at UPS?

Pre-employment drug testing is difficult to avoid. Federal law dictates DOT standards, which are often challenging to avoid. Refusing a drug test is usually grounds enough to have any offers revoked. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t be getting the job if you refuse a pre-employment test. Luckily, UPS doesn’t drug test for several of its warehouse positions, so you won’t have to worry about refusing a test.

Refusing a test for drug test during workers comp cases will also cause unwanted consequences. For example, a positive result on a test allows you to receive half of the expected amount. But, refusing a test altogether forfeits the entire amount, leaving you with nothing if you’re hurt on the job!

Can You Still Get hired if you Fail a Drug Test at UPS?

Failing a drug test isn’t the end of the world. It may seem like it at the moment, but UPS is pretty flexible with its drug testing policy. A failed result doesn’t typically prevent you from further employment consideration. However, it will require you to wait a few months before you have a second chance to apply.

A failed drug test doesn’t mean the end of employment either. UPS understands that the sobriety process is challenging and will allow individuals who are recovering the opportunity to engage in programs with that goal. Naturally, these programs require drug testing as part of the rules, but the end goal is a clean life.

Final Thoughts on UPS Drug Testing

Drug testing at UPS is somewhat tricky to understand. Despite UPS advertising a drug testing policy, there is little evidence to support regular testing. Based on employee testimony, many warehouses and even office staff have never seen a drug test while employed with UPS. Only those driving for UPS should stress about a drug test, as the DOT physical requires one.

Regardless, the flexibility in UPS’s drug testing policy makes it an excellent option for those recovering or those who don’t mind a little grass on the weekend. However, a workers comp case will require a drug test. Otherwise, you won’t get the payout you were initially expecting. Now that you know more about UPS’s drug testing policy, you’ll be ready for your interview!

So what do you think about this blog post about UPS drug testing? Have you or someone you know been in that situation? What was that like and what happened? Please tell us in the comments below.

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