Drug Testing Employees.

 Drug testing employees has got to be one of the stupidest things employers can put their employees through.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not pro-crackhead employment.  I am also aware of how drugs can effect one's performance at work, and how drug addicts are more likely to steal and conduct other unlawful activities on the job.   It only makes sense for an employer to not want to employ druggies.  But I do have a problem with the typical screening process.

If someone you hired is doing drugs,  you can tell by looking at their behavior.   If you can't tell by their behavior (they act normal), and you have to use a piss test to determine that they do indeed use, that person's drug use is not affecting their behavior, and thus should not be a problem to employers.   Meaning, if an employee's use does not effect their performance at work, and has not lead to any unlawful activity on the job, it shouldn't be any of the employer's concern. 

Let's use my uncle as an example of why I think this way.   My uncle was a truck driver who worked for the same company for over 10 years, without incident.   One day they gave him a new route that required him to cross the border.   It was his assigned task, and something he couldn't just refuse to do without getting fired.    So he complied.  He also complied to the mandatory drug testing that they required of all border crossing drivers.   In one random drug test they found weed in his system.  After 10 years of problem-free employment, they fired him.    His marijuana use had not effected his performance for the 10 years he was with them, because if it did, they would have fired him long ago.   Now my uncle is too old and crippled from working all his life to find a new job to support his adult step-children and his multiple grandchildren that he has been supporting ever since his step daughter left her abusive relationship.   He's an amazing man.  He's not actually my uncle, but I've called him that ever since I was little.   He was the one who took my mother to the hospital when she went into labor with me.  He also knew that I was a girl before either of my parents did (my mom was still all drugged up after her emergency c-section).  He was there for my family while my dad was sailing on the boats and couldn't physically be there to support us.    He's never had children of his own, but has raised his step-children like they were his.   Even now, I can count on him for anything.  He even offered to teach me how to drive, when my dad refused.  He's more family to me than some of my actual family members.   He's not the typical drug addict who deserves to be fired for his addiction.   He's a man who's worked all his life to provide, and is now crippled because of it.  Who cares if he enjoys the odd doobie?  I believe he's earned it.

Another example is many of the jobs I've been on in the last 4 years.  As a temp I've worked at many industrial establishments.  Safety has always been extremely important at each and every one of them.   They all had serious hazards that could have resulted in loss of life if proper safety procedures were not understood and followed correctly.  I have also never been drug tested.  I have however seen many people fired for drug use, because it affected their performance, and thus made them a safety and financial liability to the company and fellow co-workers. Rightfully so.
But  I was also aware of the drug use of many other employees, but it was not apparent on the surface, and did not effect how they did their job.  Those people continue to be valuable assets to the companies they work for, and are rightfully trusted with their assigned responsibilities.   But if those companies were to suddenly implement a mandatory drug test, they would lose a large percentage of their employees.   I can even say that about the company my dad works for.  Many of those guys, especially the temporary ones like myself, are pot heads.   If they were to drug test they would lose many fully qualified people.  They too have fired people because their drug use effected their performance.  A few people have been fired for stealing copper off the jobs, in order to pay for drugs, and taking pay advancements and not showing up for work the next day.  Other people have shown up drunk, and were fired, along with people who have a habit of calling in sick on Monday mornings.   In addition, unsafe work habits are not tolerated at all.  Any employee found to be unsafe or unlawful is fired on the spot.   The labor board, and workman's compensation are always showing up for random safety inspections, due to the extremely hazardous work environment.     There are many things in place to insure that their employees are competent and safe.  They are able to do this without collecting urine.

I smoke pot.  And I know how it effects me.  When I am high, I am easily distracted, have piss-poor reflexes, and short term memory loss.   Because of this, I do not get high at, or before work.  Just like the warnings you see on legal sleeping pill commercials,  I do not operate machinery until I know how marijuana effects me.   I also will refuse work if I feel it is unsafe.  That includes working with someone who I believe to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially hard drugs like Oxys and other street drugs like cocaine etc.   I have actually reported people to supervisors. I wouldn't say that I believe they were on drugs, just that they are not safe to work with, and I'd use their behavior to demonstrate my concerns.   You never know... that person might just be fucked in the head for an entirely different reason.   Either way, the only time a person's drug use should result in loss of employment is if it effected or will mostly likely effect the company they work for, or the people they work with.  Not people like my uncle who had no problem doing his job to company specifications despite his use of marijuana.

I am not saying that drugs are ok, and that anyone should use them.   I am only saying that if someone's drug use does not effect how they do their job,  it should not be any of the company's business or concern.   It's just like how I and many employers don't care if you're an alcoholic... as long as you don't show up to work drunk, call in sick all the time because you're hung over, or it effects your brain in a way that makes you incompetent.   Besides... it's not hard to spot a serious drug user, such as a crack head.  I know for a fact that hard drugs, even legal narcotics, can change a person's personality.  Hell in most cases, crackheads could care less about finding work, they are too busy trying to obtain crack.  Waiting a week to get paid is far too long for most of these people, and they will often resort to other means like crime and "borrowing" money from friends to get their fix.    Anyone who hires a crackhead or anyone who acts like one, through the interview process, is an idiot (probably on crack themselves), and should not be in the HR department, or an employer. Employee Drug testing is unnecessary in most cases, and can be substituted with common sense and visual observation, that is free and not such an invasion of privacy, in most cases.   

Uploaded 04/21/2011
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