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Does UPS Drug Test?

UPS has drug testing requirements in place as part of the hiring process for some employees. Besides those pre-employment drug screens, UPS also carries out random drug testing for drivers, and all employees are subject to post-incident and post-accident drug testing.

In this article, we’ll give you answers to the questions: Who, When, and, How does UPS drug test? We’ll also tell you what happens if your drug test returns a positive result.

Who Does UPS Drug Test During The Hiring Process?

Does UPS Drug Test

UPS no longer asks you to pass a drug test before you can start an entry-level job at a UPS warehouse.

If you’re applying to work as a package handler or truck loader/unloader, for example, you simply go through a basic online application and provide the necessary information for your background check.

UPS aims to make successful applicants a job offer within 30 minutes and then as long as your background check is good, you’re ready to start work.

You will not face a drug test on your first day at UPS.

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When Do They Test Employees?

UPS has different drug testing policies in place for different types of employees.

The only policies that apply to all employees are post-incident/accident drug testing, and testing when being under suspicion of drug or alcohol intoxication.

An incident is an accident or deliberate action that harms another person or causes damage to goods or equipment. When this happens, the person or persons involved will have to take a drug test.

Likewise, if you are suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while you’re at work, they will ask you to submit to a drug test.

There is a procedure in place for this, and that procedure requires that two supervisors who have been trained to spot substance abuse both agree that they have reasonable cause to suspect that you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Reasonable cause covers both your actions and your conduct, so if your movements looked suspicious in any way, you would be at risk of being tested. As for your conduct, that would include things like aggressive behavior, causing trouble, and acting in a way that is out of character.

You might hear other warehouse employees having a very casual attitude about using substances on the job, but it’s against company policy and absolutely not something you should risk doing.

Being fired for drug use will make it very difficult for you to get another job.

Applicants for driving jobs will need to pass a drug screening test before they can begin work. Other drug tests can also be required during your employment.

Package Car Drivers

Package car drivers do not need to pass a pre-employment drug test. The only ongoing drug testing requirements are post-accident drug testing and reasonable cause drug testing.

You will undergo a post-accident drug and alcohol test if there is reason to believe that you were 1) at fault, and 2) under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Likewise, if you are suspected of being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol while you are driving, or if drugs or alcohol are seen in your vehicle, you will be required to take a test.

Driver With A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

UPS driving jobs that require a CDL are governed by Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. As such, you are subject to pre-employment drug testing, random drug testing, and post-accident drug testing.

As per DOT rules, a drug test must be carried out when there is an accident involving a fatality, bodily injury with medical treatment away from the scene (if a citation is issued), or damage to any vehicle that must be towed (if a citation is issued).

CDL drivers at UPS are well paid, and these are highly sought-after jobs. If you are involved in an accident, failing to have the tests carried out properly will put your job at risk even if you know 100% that you were clean.

Make sure you check the relevant section of your contract  – Article 35 of The National Master United Parcel Service Agreement – so you know to the letter the procedure you have to follow.

It’s a good idea to print out a sheet that covers the main points and lists your union contact number. Keep the sheet in your wallet or with the other paperwork you carry while driving.

Some drivers have lost their jobs because they didn’t know the rules when the staff performing the drug test gave them incorrect advice or instructions.

How Does UPS Drug Test – Oral, Urine, or Hair Follicle?

Does UPS Test For Alcohol Use?

For employees suspected of being under the influence of drugs, UPS uses a standard 5-panel drug test.

The sample you have to give maybe a saliva sample, but it is usually a urine sample.

Employees covered under the UPS union agreement are tested for the following substances:

  • Marijuana Metabolites
  • Cocaine Metabolites
  • Codeine/Morphine
  • Hydrocodone/Hydromorphone
  • Oxycodone/ Oxymorphone
  • Acetylmorphine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamines/Methamphetamine

If the sample is positive, further analysis is made using gas chromatography to confirm the result.

Do They Test For Marijuana Use?

Yes, the standard drug test that UPS requires when they suspect you are using drugs or when you are involved in an accident will test for marijuana.

A result of 50 ng/ml or higher on the initial test will trigger the confirmatory test. If that analysis results in a 15 ng/ml or higher reading, disciplinary action will be taken against you.

What about medical marijuana?

Well, the law in this area is very new, constantly evolving, and different for every state.

At the current time, there is no entry in the UPS union governed contract relating to medical marijuana.

So at this point, we can only say that if you test positive for marijuana after an incident or after giving them reasonable cause to suspect you’re using, then your medical marijuana card won’t be a get-out-of-jail-free card.

To underline this point, we found a news report about a long-term, unionized employee who was fired from his position after a reasonable cause drug test returned a positive result for marijuana.

This employee held a medical marijuana card, but UPS still fired him, stating that the employee had violated their drugs and alcohol policy by being impaired at work.

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Does UPS Test For Alcohol Use?

While you’re working for UPS in the warehouse, if a supervisor suspects that you have been drinking alcohol, or if you are clearly drunk, they will, after confirming with another supervisor, order you to take a test.

And anytime you are involved in an accident or incident, you should expect to have your alcohol level tested.

Under current UPS policy, there are no random alcohol screenings for warehouse employees.

Package car drivers are subject to the same testing procedures as warehouse workers when it comes to alcohol use. However, if alcohol is found in your vehicle, you will be tested.

Drivers with a CDL are required under DOT rules to undergo random testing throughout the year, and an alcohol test is part of the post-accident screening that all drivers have to submit to.

Random alcohol screens are carried out using a breath analyzer.

What Happens If You Fail UPS Drug Test?

What Happens If You Fail UPS Drug Test?

For applicants subject to a pre-employment drug test, if you fail the test, you won’t get hired.

For employees covered by the union agreement, the process set out in Article 35 of The National Master United Parcel Service Agreement Is as follows.

Failing a drug test carried out under the reasonable cause policy is cause for termination. However, UPS in consultation with your union may, at their discretion, offer you a less severe penalty.

All employees failing a drug test after an incident or an accident will be fired.

UPS drivers failing a random drug test will, on their first offense, receive a written warning and be required to undergo and successfully complete a drug rehabilitation program.

Further drug testing is carried out while rehabilitation is ongoing and before you can resume driving duties.

Alcohol Screening Positive Result – Reasonable Cause

Drivers failing a reasonable cause alcohol screening with an alcohol level of between 0.02 to 0.039 will face 24 hours driving suspension and receive a warning letter.

If your alcohol level is higher, from 0.040 to 0.069, you will face a 10-day suspension and be referred to a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

Alcohol test results of 0.07 or higher will result in termination, as will a second offense, resulting in a positive test of 0.02 or above.

Drivers must also pass an alcohol screening before returning to work.

Alcohol Screening Positive Result – Post Accident

For the post-accident screening, a test result showing an alcohol level above 0.02 is grounds for dismissal.

Alcohol Screening Positive Result – Random Screening

With a positive alcohol test result between 0.02 to 0.039, you will receive a warning letter and face a 24-hour driving suspension.

If the initial result is between 0.4 and 0.069, you will face a 10-day suspension and be evaluated by a substance abuse professional.

Second offenses resulting in a positive result between 0.02 and 0.069 also carry a 10-day suspension and require an evaluation by a substance abuse professional.

If you fail a 3rd random screening with an alcohol level above 0.02, you will be dismissed.

Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Happens At UPS Orientation?

During orientation on your first day, you’ll need to provide your ID documents and fill out a few forms. Then you’ll sit through a training session where you’ll learn how to do your job safely.

It’s a good idea to take a notebook and jot down the important points that you’ll need to remember. Once the training session is complete, you’ll start your shift.

Does UPS Hair Follicle Test?

No, currently UPS employs both saliva and urine testing, with urine testing being the most common. UPS carries out testing in compliance with Department of Transportation rules for all employees.

What Happens If You Fail A Drug Test At UPS?

If you fail a UPS drug test carried out after an incident or accident, you will be fired. Employees testing positive after a reasonable cause drug test may be terminated, but they can be offered a lesser penalty at the discretion of UPS.

Drivers failing a random drug test will receive a written warning and must complete a drug rehabilitation program if this is their first offense. A second offense results in dismissal.

Does UPS Drug Test At Interview?

For many warehouse positions, UPS no longer conducts interviews, so you won’t face a pre-employment drug test. For other positions, including package car driver and driver’s assistant, no drug test is required.

CDL drivers governed by Department of Transport regulations will need to take a drug test. For CDL jobs, you provide a urine sample for your drug test when you go for your medical exam, not at the interview.


Unlike many large companies, UPS doesn’t use pre-employment drug testing or random drug testing on the majority of their employees. With that said, it’s still not a good idea to go to work with drugs or alcohol in your system.

If your supervisor has reason to suspect you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can order you to submit to a test. Drug tests are also carried out if there’s an accident or incident that results in injury or in damage to company property.

Drivers operating a vehicle that requires a CDL have to pass a pre-employment drug screen and are subject to random DOT-mandated drug tests, as well as post-accident and reasonable cause drug testing.

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