All over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: They are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test.
That hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies.
Continue reading: Hiring Hurdle: Finding Workers Who Can Pass a Drug Test
Commentary by The Secular Jurist: The article goes on to highlight employers’ long-held predisposition against marijuana use, and more recently against opioid abuse, which in my opinion reflects their obsessive concerns over maximizing worker productivity. These “downer” drugs produce mellowing and sedative effects on people, while “upper” drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine produce stimulative effects. When meth use escalated nationwide in the 1990s, many employers ignored the problem because employees who used these drugs typically performed their jobs at a high level.
I have opposed employer-based drug testing from the outset because:
- It is an infringement on personal privacy rights.
- It grants extraordinary powers to employers at the expense of employees.
In occupations where drug and alcohol use creates a potential public health and safety hazard, the appropriate federal, state, and local governmental agencies should exclusively bear the responsibility for screening applicants and regularly testing workers in such jobs.