What Is a Non DOT Drug Test?

By Jackie Lohrey

A non-DOT drug screen is any drug test that follows state laws rather than federal testing guidelines. Only “safety-sensitive” transportation employees are required to follow Department of Transportation federal regulations. Although a non-DOT drug test can test for fewer than the five substances required in a DOT test, most are significantly more in-depth.

DOT vs. Non-DOT Testing

Procedures and Requirements

Although state laws on drug testing vary widely, all have rules designed to prevent discrimination and ensure fair and equal treatment. State laws generally agree that:

  • A job applicant must be informed that drug testing will be part of the hiring process
  • Drug testing should be performed only after an applicant receives a job offer
  • Drug testing programs must treat and test all applicants and employees equally and fairly
  • Drug tests must be administered and analyzed by a state-certified laboratory

Although an employer can’t force an applicant or an employee to agree to non-DOT drug testing, it can be a condition of employment.

What about Marijuana?

Although attitudes and state laws on marijuana use are evolving, as of 2015 its status as a Schedule I controlled substance has not changed. According to Hunton & Williams LLP, a global law firm, employers can consider both recreational and medical use of marijuana as unlawful -- -- at least for the present time.

With regard to medical marijuana, of the 23 states and the District of Columbia that as of 2015 has decriminalized the use of marijuana for people with a legitimate medical need, 14 have laws that either explicitly prohibit its use in the workplace or do not require non-DOT employers to accommodate medical marijuana use.

About the Author

Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.