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Does Subway Drug Test All Its Employees?


Operating over 42,000 outlets in more than 100 countries globally, Subway is one of the most popular sandwich shops the world over. It is also a major employer, often looking for new applicants to fill the many available job opportunities. If you are looking for a job at Subway, one question that could be plaguing your mind is: Does Subway Drug Test? Let’s take a closer look at the company’s drug policy.

Subway’s Operational Structure and Code of Conduct

Subway is a privately owned company that uses a franchise model of operations. This model works by allowing all the franchises under Subway to have autonomy over its management under a wide-reaching code of conduct. Generally, the code of conduct provides general guidance to the different restaurants about:

  • Privacy laws
  • Employment practices
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Trademarks
  • Press relations
  • General rules subject to local jurisdiction

Under the current code of conduct, Subway franchises are expected to maintain a healthy, safe, and secure work environment. The company defines this as a workplace with a reduced risk of health risk exposure, injury, and accidents. However, the document leaves the matter of a drug test policy to the discretion of each Subway franchise.

Subway Drug Test Policy

As mentioned, Subway leaves the decision of whether or not to drug test employees to individual franchises. The company does maintain that each restaurant should provide a safe work environment but does not micromanage the drug policies. Why is that? Since Subway franchises are independent businesses, their owners have discretion over their hiring processes. That said, Subway as a company has a reputation to maintain and many restaurants under it have a drug policy. Such franchises conduct drug policies during the job recruitment process, before granting a promotion, and after a workplace accident. Here is a breakdown of these practices: Pre-Employment TestingA Subway franchise may request that job applicants submit to a drug test before receiving a job offer. This does not usually apply to entry-level applicants because the high employee turnover at this level can make it uneconomical. However, management-level applicants, those handling assets, and employees operating company vehicles may be tested.

Pre-Promotion Testing

When a Subway employee is up for a high-level promotion, they are likely to be required to take a drug test. This is especially true if they will be holding a managerial position, handling finances or financial matters, or driving company vehicles.

Post-Accident Testing

If an employee is involved in a workplace accident and gets injured or injures a coworker or customer, they will be required to undergo testing. This is especially true for cases that require compensation.

Random Drug Tests

Random drug tests are not standard among Subway Franchises, but the policy will vary from restaurant to restaurant. These screenings tend to happen within 24 hours.

Suspicion-Based Testing

The most common form of drug testing in Subway franchises with a drug test policy is suspicion-based screening. Generally, the management reserves the right to request that an employee undergo a drug test if it suspects that they are under the influence of drugs.

Drug Policy by Franchise

Multiple Subway franchise have a drug-free policy prohibiting their employees from working under the influence of drugs or alcohol, consuming alcohol on-site, and using or distributing drugs while on duty. A good example is Rottinghaus Company, which runs outlets in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas. Rottinghaus has an employee handbook that bars employees from using, distributing, selling, possessing, or being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol while working. In the event an employee is on prescribed drugs, the Rottinghaus employee policy allows them to use the drugs as long as they do not endanger other employees or customers. The employee can also maintain their job as long as the drugs do not impair their ability to perform their job. Another example is Junior Fowler Restaurants, LLC. The company runs several Subway restaurants in Forrest City and Jonesboro, Arkansas. According to its employee manual, employees that use drugs or consume alcohol on the job are subject to corrective action, including employment termination. Some employees may also be required to enroll in a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

How Are Drug Tests Done?

For Subway franchises that perform drug tests, the preferred method of testing is a mouth swab or urine test. Some employees have reported being asked to take additional screenings to ensure that the initial test was not tampered with. Additionally, the franchise will usually hire a third-party facility to perform the tests. Employees will receive a 24 to 48-hour notice to show up at the facility. What drugs does the Subway test for? DISA affirms that companies like this are usually looking for several substances. In most cases, Subway franchises will use a 5-panel urine drug test, which tests for:

  • Methamphetamines
  • PCP
  • Cocaine
  • LSD
  • Opiates

If an employee is on prescribed medication, they should always inform their manager before submitting to a drug test. This notification will have to be accompanied by a doctor’s note and possibly the doctor’s contact information in case the employer wishes to confirm the prescription – not the diagnosis.

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test?

If you work in a Subway franchise that conducts drug tests and you take it and get positive results, you will likely face disciplinary action. Job applicants that get a positive test probably won’t receive a job offer. Current employees, on the other hand, might face employment termination. In some cases, an employee that fails a drug test could be required to get into a program.

Final Thoughts

Subway has been a fast-food mainstay for over 5 decades both in the United States and the over 100 countries it serves. The company is famous for its submarine sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients. But Does Subway Drug Test its employees? It depends on where you work. Although the company insists on franchises maintaining a safe work environment, it does not require all restaurants to perform drug tests. This decision is left to the owner of the franchise. Employees working in Subway franchises that perform drug tests might lose their jobs if they turn up a positive result.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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