Drug-test Refusals: What Constitutes a Refusal

Jul 17, 2021

Drug-tests are a serious matter for both employers and employees. Both parties need to know how refusals are determined. A Part 40 refusal is the same as a positive test. If your employee is in a safety-sensitive position and commits one of the following refusal events, the employee will be immediately removed from duty. Know the events that result in a refusal, and avoid a failed drug test because of a determined refusal.

  • Fail to appear at a urine collection site when directed to report
  • Fail to remain at the urine collection site
  • Fail to provide a urine specimen after 3 hours, if a medical evaluation does not find a valid explanation.
  • Fail to permit a monitored or observed urine collection
  • Fail to provide a sufficient amount of urine
  • Fail or decline to take an additional drug test the employer or collector has directed
  • Fail to undergo a medical examination or evaluation that the MRO has directed
  • Fail to cooperate with any part of the urine collection process
  • Fail to follow the instructions to raise and lower clothing and turn around during an observed collection
  • Possess or wear a prosthetic or other device that could be used to interfere
  • Admit to the collector to having adulterated or substituted the specimen
  • Adulterate or substitute a specimen
  • Admit to having adulterated or substituted the specimen

The decision maker in each case is either an employer/DER or MRO. The MRO’s decision is final and is not subject to review, so knowing the events that constitute a refusal will help employers understand the process. This knowledge will help you train your staff and handle the refusals when they happen.