Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why drug testing is bad, mmkay...

So I was going through my backlogs and found this article from my previous site "". The site has since gone down, but I wanted to salvage this passage because it is a very important issue, especially for those of us looking for jobs. Soon enough, local governments are going to try to drug test even those collecting welfare, a measure which would seem fair, if it wasn't for testing being unethical in the first place. This was written to appeal to both employers and employees, so don't mind the conservative tone. The following is my report:

Imagine this... you're a college senior who spent the last 16 years of life studying hard, getting good grades, and trying to be successful in your upcoming career. Like the vast majority of college students, you make time to enjoy the social aspects of college. You have the qualifications to get a job at your #1 company and get through several rounds of interviews. But in the end, you get rejected... Why? Because at a party a few weeks before, you smoked a joint with some friends.

This happens every day in our business world where companies have the right to test employees for drug use whenever they want.Often it is a condition of employment, but at times could be random, for no reason, and at a moment's notice.

We are not and in no way condoning on the job drug use. Your company is paying you for your time, and deserves your full unadulterated attention. But when the work day is done, your time should be yours and yours alone... Your company does not own you and should not be making decisions for you.

This creates an ethical grey area in workplace relations. The purpose of the site is to allow companies and employees alike the ability to announce whether an applicant should expect to be tested. We serve both as a caution to employees and as a way for companies to prevent unwanted applications from users who do not fit their culture. Until legislation prevents unwarranted testing, the best people can do is stay informed.


Some of the reasons why employment drug testing is unethical, and why this site exists:

  • Just as your company has the legal right to drug test you, you have a right to know if they are going to invade your privacy. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects against random and unprovoked search and seizure. However, this right does not extend into the workplace.

  • Drug tests do not test for intoxication, rather past usage at an arbitrary time.  

  • Should recreational users be kept out of jobs, only to have more time, unproductive time, on their hands to do more drugs?  

  • These rules were set in place during an era of propaganda, before we had enough true information make judgments about how drugs affect one's health behavior when not under the influence.  

  • Making responsible users second-class citizens. While companies push for open, diverse cultures, they isolate a major one. One that could potentially open additional markets. Usage is tolerated and accepted in some areas despite its illegality.  

  • Laws are changing to make certain drugs legal. Drug tests, especially random tests, prevent prominent people from speaking up for reformation, thus keeping them taboo and illegal.

  • Some drugs tested for are legal in certain areas. A vacation in Amsterdam where one does as the locals do could potentially cost you your job.

  • These tests do not discriminate between recreational users and medicinal users. And yes, people CAN be denied hire, or even fired for taking medication under doctor's orders.

  • Your medical history is not the business of your company. We have strict HIPPA laws that prevent any communication about one's medical history outside of the doctor-patient bond. Employment drug screening defies this law.  

  • Drug tests can reveal other medical conditions (i.e. pregnancy) and legal medications for common disorders (i.e. depression), things that could secretly prevent an otherwise perfect candidate from getting hired

  • Random tests can be a mask for terminating someone for alternate reasons. Don't like a co-worker (for example, say, the black one) who you know partakes once in a while outside of work? Make an accusation and watch them get fired for drugs instead!

  • Marijuana, the most commonly used and least dangerous of intoxicants legal or illegal stays in your system the longest. Harsher drugs are out of one's system within 2-3 days. So these tests typically just uncover pot users, which should rationally be of no concern to a company. Alcohol is significantly worse for one's health than most drugs, and can cause obvious after effects at work even 24 hours after consumption. Yet almost no companies have a policy saying an employee can't drink on their free time.

  • False positives can ruin a person. Food one eats, medicine one takes, and elemental exposure can all cause a clean sample to test positive.

  • Signs of intoxication are obvious and effect performance. If one is not performing to standards, they shouldn't keep their job. But if performance is not affected, why test?


This stated, here are the benefits this site can bring to your business:

  • Let people know you test, as a warning. Users will not apply for your jobs, saving the time and expense of interviewing and testing someone who will just fail your drug test
  • It will encourage people who know they want to work for you to NOT partake
  • If you don't test, be proud of it. Announce that you respect your employee's right to privacy when they are on their own time. You are opening yourself up to many qualified candidates another company casts aside for a non-work-related reason.
  • Let your company give a reason for their testing. It wouldn't be fair to list reasons why drug testing is bad without giving the company a reason to voice their side. While we feel most testing is unwarranted, there may be instances where there are legitimate reasons why a company tests employees. Now you can explain why.


Once again, we do not condone the illegal use of drugs while on the job, but if you choose to partake, you have a right to stay safe. Enjoy the site, and best of luck on your job hunt!



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