Can You Be Fired for Failing a Drug Test in California?

fired for failed drug test

Whether you work for a big corporation or a family-owned business, drug testing is a common reality across today’s workplaces.

Employers often drug test their employees as a condition of employment.

Employers also randomly test employees for drug use.

Drug testing is particularly common in hazardous occupations, where the safe operation of equipment is essential.

So, can you get fired for failing a drug test in California?

The Starpoint Law, LC team can help you understand whether you can be fired for failing a drug test in California.

We’ll walk you through some of the rules that apply to employer drug testing.

We’ll also help you understand your employment law rights. To get started, contact us today.

What Rules Apply to Employer Drug Testing in California?

Employer drug testing is typically legal under both state and federal law. However, California’s constitution guarantees people a right to privacy. Generally, this means that employers cannot single out employees for drug testing.

Additionally, if you’re fired for failing a drug test because you take medication for a physical or mental health condition, you might have a valid claim for discrimination.

Talk to an experienced employment lawyer about a possible discrimination claim right away. 

Types of Drug Testing in California

Pre-Employment Testing

Before asking, can you get fired for failing a drug test?

Ask, Can you get turned down for the job for failing a drug test? The answer is yes and no.

California employers may require all prospective hires to undergo drug testing. However, they cannot discriminate based on race, age, ethnicity, or other protected characteristics.

For instance, they couldn’t ask only all-white applicants to take drug tests. Be wary of when an employer asks for a pre-hire drug test and what drugs the test covers.

Talk to a lawyer if you have concerns that you may face discrimination for any drugs you take for pre-existing medical conditions of any type.

Random Testing of Employees

Can you get fired for failing a drug test in California if your employer randomly tests you?

The answer often depends upon the facts of the situation.

If you work in an occupation where safety is a major concern, like doing construction or piloting an airplane, then typically courts have found that employers have an interest in conducting random drug testing.

But courts balance an employer’s interest in a drug-free workplace against your right to privacy.

Accounting firms and grocery stores may not have the same safety interests in random testing that construction sites do.

However, if an employer has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is coming to work under the influence, then drug testing of that employee may be permitted.

Fired for Failing a Drug Test? Starpoint Law Can Help!

At Starpoint Law, LC, we’ve handled hundreds of wrongful termination cases.

We provide each client with the individualized attention they deserve.

Don’t suffer for failing a drug test you shouldn’t have had to take in the first place. Contact us today for a free case consultation.

Author Photo

Aidin Ghavimi

Aidin is a partner at Starpoint LC, Attorneys at Law, and focuses on personal injury and employment law cases in and around Southern California. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Loyola School of Law and his Bachelor’s from USC. Aidin’s primary goal is to bring justice to his clients and to ensure they are able to move on with their lives after a serious injury.