Does McDonald’s Drug Test?

If you’ve thought of jumping into the fast food scene by applying for a job at your local McDonald’s, you’ve probably asked the question: Does McDonald’s drug test in 2023?

A lot of employers are against the possession and use of illicit substances in places of work. And for good reason. Substance abuse in the workplace can result in cognitive, behavioral, and emotional impairment of staff. In turn, this may cause reduced productivity, low morale, and a higher prevalence of workplace accidents. To prevent these expensive challenges, management may choose to administer drug screens to applicants and/ or employees.

Before we delve into McDonald’s drug test policy in 2023, let’s briefly explore the story behind this company. McDonald’s is a fast-food restaurant chain that has been around since 1940. It was established by the sibling duo of Richard and Maurice McDonald. Over the decades, this brand has grown into a household name and it currently boasts the largest revenue from any restaurant chain. McDonald’s also has a staggering workforce of 2 million plus individuals, a figure that is only second to Walmart.

How Does McDonald’s Drug Testing Work?

You might be surprised to learn that the McDonald’s company only owns and runs about 7% of McDonald’s restaurants globally. The rest are operated by independent franchise owners. And while some practices and procedures are similar across the board, franchise owners enjoy a degree of autonomy with some policies. For instance, the owner will make the call when it comes to screening applicants and employees for substance use. This means that different McDonald’s establishments will have varying drug testing policies.

As is the case with most employers, McDonald’s mainly administers a urine 5-panel drug test. It screens for the presence of PCP, THC, methamphetamines, opiates, and cocaine. But what if you’re residing in a state that has legalized the use of marijuana? Well, weed is still considered an illicit drug at the federal level and in most workplaces as a result.

The urinalysis test involves submitting a urine sample in a cup. For the most part, these tests are usually unsupervised which means that no one is watching you as you pee. You’ll need to follow the instructions provided at the testing facility to ensure that your sample is not flagged as suspicious. Once you’ve submitted the sample an initial temperature check is done to verify that the specimen is unadulterated. The urine is then tested for the presence of illicit substances. If the results are positive, a second confirmatory test is conducted. You’ll typically find out the drug screen results in one to two days. Employees don’t get the option for an at-home drug test at McDonald’s.

Generally, drug screening is not part of the McDonald’s hiring process. This means that applicants need not worry about McDonald’s drug test kits. You’ll also be relieved to find out that past and current employees of this fast food chain report that there are no random drug tests. However, there are a few circumstances that may call for a McDonald’s drug test. If you’re hurt while on the job, you may be required to take a post-accident test to determine if you’re eligible for worker’s compensation. Further, if you’re exhibiting traits that are regarded as reasonably suspicious, your employer may need to verify whether you’re abusing substances.

Does McDonald’s Drug Test Entry-Level Positions?

As we’ve previously established, most McDonald’s restaurants are independent franchises, and decisions about drug testing are left to the owner. Still, if you’re applying for an entry-level position there is a good chance that you’ll not be screened. Most people who’ve held jobs such as crew members, cashiers, and cooks report that they were not tested for substance use.

The fast food industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates. This can be attributed to the fast-paced environment, low wages, minimal benefits, and having to deal with a fair share of entitled customers. Throw drug screens into the mix and it becomes even harder to fill these positions. With the high turnover rates, testing each employee would also eat into the profit margins. If you opt for a job as a warehouse worker, you can also be at ease since there is no McDonald’s warehouse drug test.

However, if you’re interested in a managerial position, you’ll likely come across a drug test. Positions such as General Manager and Department manager come with a lot of responsibilities. These individuals oversee the well-being of patrons and staff while ensuring that operations are running efficiently. Therefore, it’s only natural for employers to seek out dependable individuals who are not on drugs for such delicate positions.

What Happens If You Fail to Pass McDonald’s Drug Test

So, you’ve undertaken a screening and unfortunately, the McDonald’s drug test kit indicates the presence of drugs in your system. What next?

Failed drug tests are not uncommon in the workplace. And when it comes to consequences, there is no blanket rule. The next steps will vary depending on the state, your employer, and particular circumstances.

If a pre-employment drug screen is part of the hiring process, a failed test is a red flag for the employer and they’ll likely withdraw the job offer.

But what if you’re an existing employee? If the management is keen on enforcing a zero-tolerance policy on drugs, they may fire you. In some establishments, you may get off with a warning especially if it’s the first time you’ve been caught using. With other employers, the course of action may be to suspend you or encourage you to seek treatment in a rehab facility.

A failed post-accident drug test would mean that you’re not eligible for worker’s compensation. In that case, you’d need to shoulder the associated medical costs.

Kinds of Drug Tests at McDonald’s

Let’s take a look into the type of tests you can expect if you’re applying or working at McDonald’s.

McDonald’s Pre-employment Drug Screen  

Some employers require pre-employment drug screens to ensure that potential hires are not drug users. At McDonald’s entry-level positions do not call for a drug test, and this makes the hiring process more favorable to employees.

However, if you’re applying for a managerial position you’ll likely need to take a pre-employment drug screen. This is because such positions are critical to the performance of the restaurant.

McDonald’s Random Drug Test 

Random drug tests can be a pain to navigate because they typically come up when you least expect them. Fortunately, you’re unlikely to encounter a random drug test as a McDonald’s employee.

McDonald’s Reasonable Suspicion testing

If a supervisor observes and documents suspicious traits in an employee, they may be tested to verify if they’re indeed using. Physical and behavioral signs of employee drug abuse include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot/ glassy eyes
  • Irrational behavior
  • A decline in personal hygiene
  • Uncharacteristic clumsiness
  • Alcohol/ chemical odor
  • Poor performance at work
  • Irritability
  • Repeated lateness/ unexplained absences at work.

If your employer has cause to suspect that you’re abusing substances they may administer a drug screen. Thanks to an abundance of sharp knives, hot grills, deep fryers, and greasy floors. There is an increased risk of accidents if an employee is on drugs.

McDonald’s Post-Accident Testing

In the event of a workplace accident or incident, it’s commonplace for the employer to administer a drug screen. The purpose of this test is to determine whether the employee was intoxicated or under the influence of substances at the time of the incident.

Post-accident testing is a requirement of worker’s compensation, and therefore, determines which party will cover resultant medical expenses.

Questions and Answers About McDonald’s Drug Test

How long does weed stay in your system?

The detection window for marijuana will depend on several factors including THC dose, BMI, frequency of use, metabolism, and sex. With single-use, for instance, a urine test may turn up positive results for up to 3 days after last use. However, a chronically heavy user would have a longer detection window of up to 30 days after the last use.

What benefits does McDonald’s offer its employees?

One of the perks of working at McDonald’s is their flexible hours. This aspect makes the job a good fit for students and individuals working a second job.

You can also take advantage of training programs, exclusive discounts, and free meals as a McDonald’s employee. Depending on your position, you may also be eligible for retirement benefits, paid time off, paid leave, health benefits, and life insurance.

Does McDonald’s drug test package handlers?

No. As with other entry-level positions, package handlers are not required to take drug tests at most locations.

How do I pass a McDonald’s drug test?

The only foolproof way of passing a drug screening is to not use substances in the first place. However, if that ship has sailed, you can look into solutions such as reliable detox products and synthetic urine kits.

Does McDonald’s run a background check on prospective employees?

Yes. Like most employers in the US, McDonald’s runs a background check on potential hires for the safety of their patrons and other employees. This check examines the criminal history of an applicant and their educational records.

If a position involves driving, your employer may verify your driving records.

How long does McDonald’s take to hire after an interview?

On average, it takes a week to hear back from McDonald’s after an interview. The waiting time may vary depending on the position you’re applying for.


We hope that this post comprehensively answers all questions you may have about: Does McDonald’s drug test in 2023?

To sum up, McDonald’s doesn’t have a company-wide drug testing policy. Decisions about screening potential and existing employees are made by franchise owners. For the most part, McDonald’s does not drug test applicants looking to fill entry-level positions. However, if you’re interested in a management position, chances are you’ll need to be screened for substance use.

A post-accident drug test is standard practice in most places of work and McDonald’s is no different. Should you be involved in a workplace incident, especially one that calls for worker’s compensation, you should expect drug screening. Also, this fast food chain reserves the right to test staff who display suspicious behavior.

Before you undertake the McDonald’s drug test, be sure to disclose any type of medication you’re on that can cause a false positive.