Amazon's New Drug Testing Policy

by The True Negative

Earlier this week, Amazon announced changes to its drug testing policy as it relates to weed drug testing. In a blog post Amazon announced:

“we’re adjusting our drug testing policy. In the past, like many employers, we’ve disqualified people from working at Amazon if they tested positive for marijuana use. However, given where state laws are moving across the U.S., we’ve changed course. We will no longer include marijuana in our comprehensive drug screening program for any positions not regulated by the Department of Transportation, and will instead treat it the same as alcohol use. We will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for all drugs and alcohol after any incident.”

What was Amazon’s drug testing policy prior to this?
For warehouse roles, Amazon had a 3-step hiring process
1) An interview with an operation manager at the location you applied to
2) Background check
3) Drug test
Being hired was contingent on passing all three steps. Additionally, warehouse workers were randomly drug tested or, in the case of an accident, were tested to make sure the accident could not be attributed to drug use.

Who got tested and what type of test?
Prior to this, it was well known that Amazon tested workers in certain positions. Consistent with what we’ve seen with other large employers, the True Negative’s drug testing database suggests that Amazon workers in corporate roles were less likely to get drug tested.

Below is a sample of the drug tests we saw in our database of Amazon drug tests

Position: Sr Product Manager
Employment Type: Full Time
Location: Seattle, Washington
Headquarter Office: Yes
Year Drug Tested: N/A
Drug Test Timing: N/A
Test Reason: N/A

Position: Returned Items
Employment Type: Full Time
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Headquarter Office: No
Year Drug Tested: 2019
Drug Test Timing: After job start
Drug Test Type: Hair Follicle Test
Test Reason: Routine Testing

Position: Delivery Driver
Employment Type: Full Time
Location: North Jackson, Ohio
Headquarter Office: No
Year Drug Tested: 2020
Drug Test Timing: After job offer, before job start
Drug Test Type: Urine Test
Test Reason: Routine Testing

As you can see, not all employees were drug tested and among those that were, there was a range in the type of drug test they received.

With this new drug testing policy, will Amazon continue to drug test?
It’s important to note that Amazon’s updated policy addresses weed specifically and not all substances. Amazon phrases its policy update as a way to align with state laws. Nowhere in the statement does Amazon say that it will not test for other substances such as opioids, amphetamines, and other illegal substances. Additionally, Amazon's statement notes that workers who are suspected to be impaired on the job or are involved in an accident on the job may still be drug tested.

Who might still be drug tested with Amazon’s new policy?
Amazon’s updated policy states that it will continue to test workers in roles regulated by the Department of Transportation. Across all companies and industries, this category includes aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and other transportation industries. In the case of Amazon specifically, Amazon workers who are in roles such as delivery truck driving or operators of heavy machinery at Amazon warehouses should expect to be drug tested. Workers in these roles should expect to be drug tested immediately after receiving their job offer and randomly on the job.

Again, Amazon’s updated policy does not state whether it will continue to test roles not regulated by the Department of Transportation for other substances besides weed.

When does this go into effect?
Amazon’s statement does not clarify when this goes into effect. Stay tuned as we find out more.

What does this mean for weed legalization?
Amazon’s policy is consistent with some of the other shifts we’re seeing, such as Illinois, New York City and most recently, Philadelphia’s decision to ban hiring decisions from being contingent on a negative weed test (as with Amazon’s policy, in these cities/states, there are exceptions where testing employees for weed will still continue).

Amazon announce that it will be “actively” supporting the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021, federal legislation that would legalize marijuana at the federal level, expunge criminal records, and invest in impacted communities. As a $100 billion company and the second largest employer, Amazon is in a position to both lead by example and to use its financial power to raise awareness and lobby for the passing of this legislation.

Do you work for Amazon? Share your experience of receiving—or not receiving—a drug test here

The True Negative's plethora of drug testing information is designed to help you find a company that matches your lifestyle. However, it's always possible that you may receive an unexpected drug test. When this is the case, products such as Test Clear’s proven detox solutions are invaluable in helping you test negative on short notice.


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