Does Subway Drug Test?

If you need information on the drug testing policy at Subway, this guide provides an in-depth look at the structure and operation of the world’s largest restaurant operator and how it impacts employees and job applicants with regard to drugs and alcohol.

Subway operates 42,431 outlets in more than 100 countries around the world. The chain is privately held and uses a franchise model which gives all the restaurants independent ownership.

Drug testing and Subway’s operational structure

The franchise model is unique since it gives each restaurant autonomy with regard to operations under a broad code of conduct. Subway’s code of conduct provides general guidance to franchisees with regard to employment practices, trademarks, conflicts of interest, press relations, privacy laws and general rules that may also be subject to local laws in the location’s jurisdiction.

The code of conduct touches on the need of each franchise to provide a secure, safe and healthy workplace defined as one that minimizes the risk of accidents, injury, and exposure to health risks.

This broad guide gives each location the discretion to determine whether they can drug test in accordance with federal or local laws.

Several Subway franchises do not allow employees to work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drink alcoholic beverages on duty, or use any illegal substance while on duty.

For example, Junior Fowler Restaurants, LLC, which operates Subway restaurants in Jonesboro and Forrest City in Arkansas, has a comprehensive employee manual that prohibits drug and alcohol use.

Another franchise, Rottinghaus Company, operates Subway outlets in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The company’s employee handbook does not allow employees to use, possess, distribute, sell or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while working. Violations of the policy may lead to disciplinary action or immediate termination of employment. Under certain circumstances the employee may be required to participate in a substance abuse rehabilitation program.

At Rottinghaus, legal use of prescribed drugs is permitted on the job only if it does not impair an employee’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job effectively and in a safe manner that does not endanger other individuals in the workplace.

The Rundown

Although Subway’s code of conduct asks franchisees to provide a secure, safe and healthy workplace, it does not explicitly require them to drug test. The franchises operate independently and therefore have the discretion to drug test their employees or job candidates.

In situations where the franchise tests for drugs and /or alcohol, several instances call for this action;

Recent statistics show an increasing number of failed drug tests. Marijuana positivity at drug tests has increased nearly 75 percent since 2013.

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  • Pre-employment testing where the job offer is conditional on the applicant returning a negative drug test.
  • Random testing which is done on employees without prior notice
  • Reasonable suspicion testing where ones actions or behavior may lead to a test
  • Post-accident testing a work-related accident may subject an employee to an instant drug test.


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  • Updated April 16, 2019
George Hill
George Hill

Hi! I'm George, a member of the THC Detox team. I have practiced as a criminal defense expert for more than ten years and helped hundreds of lawyers develop defense strategies to help their drug clients go free.

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