Drug Testing to Get a Job – Part Two

In yesterday’s post, I obviously hit a nerve!  The only other post of mine that has had that many hits was back on November 1, 2011, when I wrote about adoption.

Yesterday I shared a picture from my local Cub Food store that indicated their policy about drug testing and that potential employees must pass their drug tests in order to receive a job.  A few people commented on the post with a variety of ideas about whether this is a good policy or not.  I am thrilled to have some comments on my blog!

In the post yesterday, I intentionally did not share my own thoughts, but I will now.

I think that employers should have the right to expect sober employees.  Someone who applies for a job and cannot pass a drug test when they are warned about it may not have the self-control needed to anything that the employer expects such as follow directions or follow through on a task.  Employees under the influence may not have appropriate control over their reactions to situations or customers, and this is a big deal in many situations.  When emergencies arise, being sober is always a good thing.

If I pay someone to do a job for me, I have the right to expect that they do their best.  Those under the influence are not likely to do their best.  Additionally, the sign at Cub indicates that the test is for illegal drug use.  When I pay someone to do a job for me, I want someone to hire someone who is a law-abiding citizen.  If that person does not like the law, then that person – a citizen in a democracy – can work to change the law.  Until then, I think it is reasonable for me to expect that they follow the law or face the consequences such as not being hired for a job.

While some employers have unreasonable expectations of their employees, I do not think that Cub’s expectation that employees are sober is unreasonable.  In fact, as a frequent customer at Cub, I would prefer that any employee in the store be sober and able to handle situations to the best of his or her sober self.

I do understand that readers may disagree – that is your right.  I just ask you to consider this: if your child has a seizure in the store, are you ok with someone under the influence being the first person on the scene making the 911 call?

An addition at 10:51 a.m. today:  So – I have read the comments and realize that I still hold to my position but that I have a horrible argument!  Can someone else support my position better than I do?  Thanks!


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18 responses to “Drug Testing to Get a Job – Part Two

  1. Marsha

    Excellent post!


  2. paul

    i think all employers and state wefare agencies should require drug testing randomly at work and monthly to recieve any assitance from welfare


  3. Dave

    So, with your child having a seizure comment… does this mean that you think employees should be tested for legal drugs as well? I no more want someone on illegal drugs attending to my sick child then one on something legal (alcohol).

    We don’t have drug testing here at my place of employment because the companies owner sees it as a violation of privacy, and I couldn’t agree more. But, that doesn’t mean if a member of my staff reported to work in the morning under the influence of any substance (illegal or not) that they wouldn’t be in some serious trouble.

    The problem here is that the employer is trying to dictate what I do outside of my job, and that isn’t right. What i do outside of work shouldn’t be any concern of my employer until it effects my work product.


  4. T

    Several have mentioned wanting law-abiding citizens as employees. It is illegal to not hire someone based on their past criminal record. Just sayin’.

    An employer might want to know if a potential hire drinks alcohol, because if they do they would have a much higher chance of coming to work drunk than a non-drinker.
    Since I believe that the above statement is idiotic, I feel the same way about drug testing. If someone comes to work impaired because of using drugs or alcohol, fire their ass, but I see no reason why their non-work activities should play into whether they get hired or not.


  5. T

    Wanted to add one more thing. You said,
    “I do not think that Cub’s expectation that employees are sober is unreasonable.”
    It’s not. But no one argues that a worker should be able to be high on the job. You asked a question (drug testing to get a job) but then part of your answer was to an unrelated question.

    It’s completely unrelated because a huge percentage of people drink yet a miniscule percentage of them go to work inebriated. A similar thing could be said for getting high, I’m sure.


  6. Amy

    I think Cub’s pretty smart for posting this on the front door…they have the right to use this rule since it doesn’t break any of the equal opportunity employment laws…anyone looking for a job has the right to apply or not apply. It’s not like Cub Foods is saying “nobody can use illegal drugs in their free time” — they’re saying they choose not to employ individuals who do use illegal drugs. So, like the individual has the choice to “use” or not to “use”, Cub has the choice to employ or not employ. Actions still have consequences — so the illegal drug user’s consequence for their choice is that they cannot be employed at this certain company. Likewise, Cub’s action with the sign has likely offended some drug users — so they’ve probably lost a little business (though they may have gained business from more conservative individuals by proudly posting the sign).

    I’d imagine that posting this on the front door has saved them lots of money on unnecessary drug tests – now there probably aren’t many illegal drug users who waste their time applying for a job with Cub. So Cub posting this on their front door saves their customers money because they’re not passing on the additional costs of drug testing people who know they’ll fail. Kudos to Cub Foods.


    • Amy – you are the voice I’ve been looking forward to hearing! My thoughts exactly…I just could not say them.

      The other thought I have is this: if someone cannot pass a drug test by being clean long enough to pee in the cup before they get a job, there is a problem bigger than whether or not they should work at Cub!


    • T

      I’m still not seeing it.

      Yes, a company can have all sorts of limiting rules they use while hiring. Was that really the question? Weather the company could or not?

      Two scenarios:
      Person A gets high every Friday night in the privacy of their home and the effects of the drug are gone by Saturday (but still traces in the blood stream).
      Person B has had three DUIs in the past five years.

      Both people use drugs to alter their mood (one legally, one illegally). Person B has shown time and again that he acts irresponsibly after using his drug (alcohol) and puts himself in position to harm others. I would MUCH rather have Person A working for me, no matter if they would fail a drug test. (Now, of course, I couldn’t legally not hire someone because of DUIs – it’s just an example.)

      Why do you insist on having what someone does outside of work determine how they’re treated at work?

      And the idea that posting that sign will save Cub Foods money is completely wrong. They’re spending money on EVERY person they interview for a job. And they don’t need to drug test their workers – if someone is obviously inebriated or can’t pass a simple sobriety test on the job, then hello, they get sent home or fired.

      What I feel in here is a sense of “people who use drugs are evil, scary people.” And by “drugs,” people only seem to refer to the illegal ones. Getting drunk is an American pastime. Drunks scare me a heck of a lot more than any pot-head ever will.


      • Amy

        T – The beauty of this country is that you, personally, can make whatever rules you want in this situation regarding whom YOU would hire for YOUR company. Cub has the same right. So even though you think that since a pee test won’t show if someone is a drunk, that Cub shouldn’t choose not to hire people who get high, they can still make their own choices regarding what they require for their employees.

        And since Cub plans to do the drug test for anyone who applies, they ARE saving money by posting the sign because it’s very likely that those who won’t pass the drug test won’t apply…therefore Cub’s not wasting any money beyond what it costs them to post the signs to “weed out” the people whom they choose not to employ because of their recreational activities. So while it still costs them something for each person who applies…they are avoiding those costs for the people who choose not to apply because they know they won’t pass the drug test.


      • T

        I’m not saying they shouldn’t be allowed to drug test, I just don’t see the benefit of it.

        I suppose there is an argument to be made that the type of job it is (unskilled) would attract a higher percentage of people who have drug problems. Not sure if that’s true or not, especially with as many unemployed people we have these days.

        But, my point wasn’t to say that it shouldn’t be allowed, just that I don’t buy the reasoning behind it.

        And your logic about saving money is totally nonsensical. From how I understood what you said – they’re saving money by drug testing all applicants because the druggies won’t apply, thus meaning less drug tests.

        My way would be to simply fire the person who comes to work high or drunk.


    • T

      Oh, and I can’t leave without commenting on this:
      “though they may have gained business from more conservative individuals by proudly posting the sign”
      If only conservatives of today were what real conservatives used to be! They once stood for LESS intrusion into people’s private lives. Do you also feel safer because we take off our shoes at the airport?

      Actually don’t answer that, I don’t want to derail the conversation any further.


      • T – the initial question yesterday was simply what people thought of the sign. I made no comments at all. Then today I followed up and made a bunch of comments that I am not sure if I really meant or just spilled out in an attempt to take a stand. I had no idea that taking a picture and using it as my blog post would create such a stir, and that is quite unusual for my blog! I tend to stick to “this is the great board game that my family played today.” It has been quite fun, and I am glad for your input. There is no stir if people agree with one another on every issue. Thank you for you input!!!

        What I really think I want to say is that I want employers to have a right to hire whomever they want to hire because the employer is the one running the company, creating the work environment, and ultimately paying the employees. We live in the free market society that has become very law happy due to poor working conditions in the past.

        I think that schools should be able to hire and keep the best teachers – not just the ones that have earned enough tenure to ride out some sloppy years of teaching. I think that employers should be able to decide if they want to hire felons or not (I realize that this is against the law in most cases, but I can still disagree). And I think that the lack of ability to pass a pee test does show poor judgement on the part of the person looking to be employed. Poor judgement skills is – not so much the sobriety – is what I would continue to call into question.

        I do not think that those who drink or use illegal drugs are evil – potentially misguided in their thoughts about how this will impact their lives (I have many addiction issues in my family “bush”), but not evil.

        Sorry – I have to answer the question because it is fun: I don’t feel safer at the airport, but I never really felt all that safe to begin with. Flying, though fun, has always been a bit scary to me. I have been traveling frequently since I was under the age of 5. Nothing is more scary than being an unaccompanied minor – regardless of the level of terrorist threat at any given moment.


      • T

        The reason it’s against the law to discriminate because of a criminal history is because the debt to society has been paid. How is a person supposed to rebuild their life from a mistake when no one would hire them? They’ve taken their punishment (I think we gave up on rehabilitation decades ago…). And afterward they shouldn’t continue to be punished. But I suppose the sad state of affairs of the American prison system is another topic.


  7. opinionated

    Funny part is this will only catch the really stupid applicants anyhow. Now-a-days if someone needs to pass a pee test it is always scheduled a day or more ahead of time. So if you had a problem passing you’d only need to run down to your local health food store and for about $6.95 pick yourself up a dose of clean pee. There are several products out there that will allow you to have a clean pee within 24 hours. I don’t know what all it would cover up but I do know most basics are masked by it. So the ironic part is only the really dumb ones could ever get caught.
    The only way the system could ever work would be to require checks without warning, or spur of the moment. This I would endorse. I think employers have every right to ask and require this. Yes I smoke a little on occasion and I still endorse this approach. I don’t think people who smoke responsibly are a problem, but there are too many who abuse many types of drugs today. And an employer deserves to know what they are investing in. And welfare systems deserve to know if they are supporting the needy or an abuser.


    • T

      So you, as a casual user, think that even if someone’s private activities never cross into their work life, they should still be forced to have their private lives checked into and their employment be subject to what is found?

      That’s what blows me away. If the person is a bad employee (for any reason) or comes to work messed up, the employer has perfect grounds for dismissal.

      My personal experience is that of complete abstinence from any chemicals – no alcohol, no drugs, no caffeine. I just feel strongly about people sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. I value personal freedom immensely.


    • Paula

      Obviously you’ve never had to do a drug test! You have to test right in front of someone of which they are right in the bathroom with you! They tape the “flusher” handle on the toilet and also the lid. It’s a very tight procedure. My husband and I both work for companies that routinely test both new employees and randomly test veteran employees. I’ve never thought twice about it. I also have had to do the “blow” test for alcohol for those of you arguing that point. Drugs stay in the system for weeks and usually when applying for jobs they test you quite promptly.


  8. Roger Messner

    Until you require drug tests for comments….

    Sheuscascjascu diisascascijj. Dejcnjkum kscjnunadcn”-:.’cumcc !


  9. quesswho

    In response to ” I just feel strongly about people sticking their nose where it doesn’t belong. I value personal freedom immensely.”

    I value personal freedom immensely as well. But the area where I find the most concern is when my freedoms are being infringed upon by any type of government agency or affiliation.

    I honestly can’t say I have a problem with a company or potential employer (non-government) such as Cub infringing on my freedom if they warn me about it ahead of time and I still choose to apply with them.

    I see it something like this. I own a home. I invite people over to my home. Maybe I decide I don’t want to have anyone in my home who smokes. So I ask people before I invite them over or allow them in “Do you smoke?” If their answer is yes then I’m going to say, “I’m sorry I can’t let you into my home.” It’s my choice to make that decision beforehand. I don’t really want to wait and find out later if they smoke and then kick them out because of it. I’d just rather know now and make the decision ahead of time not to let them in in the first place.

    It’s my home, I make the rules, that’s the way it is. So really my asking the question has nothing to do with me trying to invade privacy or infringe on freedoms or spy on what people do in their private lives. It’s just my preference about my home.

    Cub is it’s own business. They make the rules about their employees. If someone doesn’t like those rules they don’t have to share their private lives or lose any of their freedoms. Just go apply/work somewhere else. It’s not like the government is looking into their private lives, although we have plenty of that to go around in other ways, shapes, and forms… I just don’t find it offensive in the same way at all coming from Cub.

    That’s all I have to say about that.


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