How long do drug test results last on my record when I am the subject of a background check?

It depends on what you mean by “record.” Drug test results will always remain on your record with any employer who required you to take a drug test and will always remain on your medical records. If you fail a drug test administered by law enforcement, whatever crime you’re convicted of will remain on your criminal record for as long as state law allows. However, most previous drug tests, unless leading to a conviction, will not be present on an employment background check.

Employers often require drug tests for job applicants to reduce risk to the company. The results of those drug tests can result in an adverse hiring decision. However, employers do not commonly share drug test results with other employers, so it’s unlikely a failed drug test at one company will appear on your background check with another. There are exceptions. Jobs such as truck driver positions fall under regulations of the Department of Transportation. By law, employers are required to accurately respond to an inquiry from a prospective employer about whether you took a drug test, refused a drug test, or tested positive in a drug test with the former or current employer.

Any drug tests that are added to your medical record are protected by privacy laws. In California and many states, medical records are confidential, and there are only a few instances when a medical record can be released without your knowledge or authorization.

If you fail a drug test that leads to a conviction, your drug-related conviction will appear on your criminal record for as long as state law allows. In California, however, an employer may not inquire about a marijuana conviction that is more than two years old.

You can conduct your own background check online to determine whether any drug tests appear on your criminal record or medical records. Ordering your background report is quick and easy, and you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing what’s in your record.

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