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Does McDonald’s Drug Test?

Are you about to take the plunge into the fast food world by applying for a job at your local McDonald’s restaurant? And looking for the answer; Does McDonald’s Drug Test?

Are you worried about taking a pre-employment drug test, or failing a random drug test and getting shown the door?

Then this article is for you. Settle in and we’ll get you up to speed.

Does McDonald’s Drug Test Applicants in 2024?

Does McDonald's Drug Test?

When you apply for a crew member job at McDonald’s you won’t usually need to take a drug test. And you don’t normally need to worry about having a drug test sprung on you during your orientation either.

The fast food industry has a tough enough time recruiting employees as it is so they don’t add to that difficulty by insisting on a drug test.

At the time of writing this article, McDonald’s has 51,585 job openings for restaurant staff. That’s a lot of positions to fill, and given that the employee turnover rate in the fast food industry is often quoted as being over 100%, McDonald’s can’t afford to be too fussy with its hiring requirements.

When you take a job in fast food, you know you’re going to work in a fast-paced environment, wear a uniform, carry out tedious, repetitive tasks, serve your fair share of the planet’s rudest people, and see little opportunity for any career progression.

McDonald’s knows this too. And they know that most employees see the job as a temporary fill-in while they’re in school, or until something better comes along. They don’t offer employees much in the way of pay or benefits, so they don’t demand too much either.

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Does McDonald’s Drug Test For Management Positions?

If you’re applying for a management position externally or trying for a promotion to assistant manager or general manager, you could have to take a drug test.

These positions have a great deal of responsibility attached to them, so it’s understandable that an employer wouldn’t want to risk employing a drug user.

Managers are responsible for the safety and well-being of all employees and customers, and for the smooth running and profitability of the restaurant.

It’s a job that demands your full attention and complete sobriety.

Does McDonald’s Do Random Drug Testing?

It’s very unlikely that you’ll need to take a random drug test during your time at McDonald’s.

Policies vary from restaurant to restaurant, and it’s possible that some will include terms that allow for a random drug test, but even so, random drug testing is close to unheard of at McDonald’s.

Why do drug testing policies differ from restaurant to restaurant?

The vast majority of McDonald’s restaurants are operated by franchisees, not McDonald’s. McDonald’s only owns and operates around 8% of the restaurants bearing its name.

While there are many policies and procedures that all franchise owners and their employees must adhere to, in some areas there’s room for flexibility, and one of those areas is drug testing.

When you go through your orientation, you’ll be given a copy of the employee handbook or given access to view a copy on a company computer. The handbook will contain the drug testing policy for your particular location.

If the policy mentions random drug testing, then your employer has the right to ask you to take a random drug test. If the policy doesn’t mention random drug testing, then there is no possibility that you could be faced with a random test.

In reality, a random drug testing program is a headache to organize, and those drug tests cost money that eats into profits, and will ultimately lead to higher employee turnover.

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When Might You Need to Take A Drug Test At McDonald’s?

So now you know that there’s a low probability of pre-employment drug testing at McDonald’s and that the chance of being asked to take a random drug test is vanishingly small.

But you should also know that there are a couple of situations where you could face a drug test while you work for McDonald’s.

Even though you won’t usually need to pass a drug test to work at McDonald’s, all McDonald’s restaurants operate a drug-free workplace policy.

When you’re on company property, you cannot use drugs or alcohol, sell or distribute drugs or alcohol, be in the possession of drugs or alcohol, or be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or illegally obtained prescription medication.

McDonald’s drug policies state that you can be tested for drugs if you appear to be impaired because of drug or alcohol use. This type of drug testing is known as reasonable cause drug testing.

Reasonable Cause For Drug Testing

You could be suspected of drug use and asked to take a drug test for any of the following reasons:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Unsteady gait
  • Repeated clumsy behavior
  • Out-of-character aggression
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Paranoia
  • Lethargy or falling asleep
  • A pattern of lateness or unexplained absences
  • Smelling of drugs or alcohol
  • Poor personal hygiene

Even though company policy expressly prohibits drug use, a lenient shift supervisor or manager could choose to ignore obvious signs of drug use as long as you’re getting on with your work. Or they could choose to send you home with an informal warning.

A stricter manager could choose to drug test you. Or they may decide to save the expense and extra work involved with a drug test and simply fire you for some other reason.

No matter what you think you could get away with, and what you see other employees doing, it’s an incredibly bad idea to use or be under the influence of drugs in the workplace. And this is especially so when the workplace presents obvious dangers.

In a fast food kitchen, you’re constantly around sharp knives, blisteringly hot grills, and dangerous deep fat fryers.

Accidents involving burns on equipment are common in busy kitchens. Plus, it’s all too easy to end up with a serious cut when you’re using a razor-sharp knife and not paying attention to what you’re doing.

And the most common accidents in restaurant kitchens are slips and falls because of the wet, greasy floors. A bad slip or fall can leave you unable to work for months.

This brings us nicely to the next occasion when you could face a drug test and that is post-accident drug testing.

Post Accident Drug Testing

Post-accident drug testing is exactly what it sounds like – a drug test after an accident.

If you’re injured at work, and you appear to be impaired because of substance use, you could need to take a drug test.

If your injury is one that could lead to a workers’ comp claim, or to a lawsuit against your employer, then you will more than likely be asked to take a drug test because your employer wants to protect themselves from potential financial loss.

You could also face a post-accident drug test if you cause an accident even if you didn’t receive an injury yourself.

Employers use positive post-accident drug tests as grounds to deny workers’ comp claims for the injury sustained.

What Drugs Does McDonald’s Test For?

When you need to take a drug test at McDonald’s, you’ll be tested for the most commonly abused illegal drugs using a 5-panel drug screen.

Those drugs are:

  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

If you’re suspected of drinking alcohol or being drunk, you’ll be tested for that separately.

You may wonder if you’ll be tested for marijuana in a legal state. The answer is yes. Even though some states have legalized the recreational or medicinal use of marijuana, it’s still an illegal drug at the federal level with no approved medical benefits.

If you’re impaired because of marijuana or have an accident because you’re high, being in a legal state or holding a medical marijuana card won’t offer you any protection because employers go by the drug’s federal status.

What Type Of Drug Test Does McDonald’s Use?

McDonald’s uses a urine test when they need to screen employees for drugs.

Drug tests are conducted off-site and McDonald’s will pay for you to travel to and from the drug test site, they’ll pay for the test itself, and they pay for your time while you’re taking the test.

When you take a urine drug test, you’re required to produce a urine sample that will be sent to a lab for analysis.

You’ll be given a sample cup and directed to a private bathroom. No one will watch you pee.

You do need to follow all instructions and make sure that you provide the minimum amount of urine they ask you to produce. This is usually around 45ml, which isn’t much.

If you don’t feel the urge to urinate when you arrive at the test location, you’ll need to wait around until you need to use the bathroom. You can drink water to help move things along but don’t drink too much. If your urine is too diluted, you can fail the test.

When you hand your sample over, it will be checked for temperature to make sure you haven’t diluted your sample with water or used a urine substitute. At the lab, they’ll do a further test for adulteration by checking for proteins. Diluted urine has below normal protein levels.

If your sample tests positive for illegal drugs, a confirmatory test will be carried out on the sample using a more sensitive testing method.

What Benefits Does McDonald’s Offer?

McDonald’s offers you the chance to improve your education. If fast food work is all you can get because you didn’t finish high school, you can get your high school diploma for free through McDonald’s partnership with an online high school. Once you’ve completed the self-paced course, you can apply for any job that has a high school diploma as an entry requirement.

McDonald’s also offers $2,500 per year to help you with the cost of college tuition. Although this is less than you can get at some other restaurants.

There’s also a health insurance plan, 10 free telehealth consults per year, paid time off, a 30% employee discount, and referral bonuses.

Another benefit is their flexible scheduling. You can set your work hours to fit around your other commitments like your school work or your childcare responsibilities.

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In most McDonald’s restaurants, you won’t need to take a drug test when you apply for a crew member position. However, if you’re applying for a management position, you’ll usually need to pass a drug test.

Random drug tests rarely happen at McDonald’s, but you could face a drug test if you appear to be under the influence, or if you’ve been involved in an accident.

Check the McDonald’s employee handbook to learn about the exact drug testing policy in force at your location.