Do Consulting Firms Drug Test?

by The True Negative

In a previous blog post we explored the question of whether financial firms drug test. The results were mixed. Note that since then, additional info has come in for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup, and the answer continues to be mixed.

The focus in this post is on consulting firms. Here we have data on a mix of firms. This includes some large firms that work across all industries, such as Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Co, some firms that focus purely on one industry like Trinity Life Sciences and IQVIA, and some firms that are also well known for their accounting and other practices, such as PWC and Deloitte.

Here’s the run-down of results we have in our database for consulting firms:

Bain & Company
Drug test required? No
Boston Consulting Group
Drug test required? No
Drug test required? No
Ernst and Young (EY)
Drug test required? No
Drug test required? No
McKinsey & Company
Drug test required? No
Drug test required? No
Trinity Life Sciences
Drug test required? No
ZS Associates
Drug test required? No

While our data reveals that none of these firms drug test, the question of whether you will be drug tested on the job is more complex. Some users report that while their firms specifically do not drug test, their clients may ask them to be drug tested as a condition for working with the client. This is most likely to occur when consultants are working with clients who work in industries where drug testing is the norm, such as manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, it is most likely when the federal government is the client, since companies being paid by the federal government for services are often required to adhere closely to federal guidelines (remember, folks, weed is not legal at the federal level).

So what happens if you’re a consultant and you’ve been assigned a project with a company that’s likely to drug test?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the firm will let it be known ahead of time that a negative drug test will be required as a condition to work on the project. To save face, these firms will often give consultants the option of opt-ing out of the project before the drug test is asked for so that the consultant does not fail the drug test.

“PwC doesn't drug test. Some clients have required consultants to take drug tests in order to work with them. PwC will give you the heads-up if this is the case and you'll have the option to opt out of the engagement”
-PwC Consultant

It makes sense. If the firms knows that the consultant is going to fail the test and will be barred from working on the project, why not let the consultant exit gracefully from the project by giving the consultant the option to decline the project?

Does working in a state with legal weed mean that you can fail the drug test and still work on the project?
No! As our explorations of changes in employment drug testing regulations in New York, Philadelphia, and Illinois have consistently revealed, there are and always will be exceptions that allow companies and organizations to continue drug testing.

So what’s the best strategy if I’m a consultant who doesn’t want to risk failing a client drug test?
The easiest approach is to be upfront with your team and let them know that you cannot work on the project. If you have the option of selecting an industry to specialize in, consider staying away from traditional industries that commonly drug test. The True Negative’s findings on which industries these are can be found here

What if it’s too late to back out and I’m scared that there aren’t any other projects for me to be assigned to?
This is a tricky situation, and it all depends on your level of risk. If it’s really too late, consider experimenting with detox methods, such as the Certo Detox Method.

Work for a consulting firm? Submit information on drug testing practices here. For companies you’ve provided consulting services for, submit information under the company, entering your Employment Type as “External consultant”

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