The Workplace

It comes down to these values. An employer's right to know who s/he is hiring stands in conflict with an individual's right to privacy. I wrote this paper because I value the right to privacy more.

I also believe people should have the right to consume any substance they want (without limits), given that they are knowledgeable about that chemical. Employers, like anyone, have been affected by the Reefer Madness Movement. The government pushed massive amounts of misinformation throughout communities and schools, and employers are not informed enough yet to dictate what drugs will harm the workplace.

The only effective way to select workers is to evaluate their performance on the job.

First understand that drugs can actually improve performance. Aspirin relieves pain, allowing a worker to continue. Marijuana (when consumed on the job) makes repetitive factory oriented work more interesting, which lengthens a workers attention span. Marijuana will actually make some people more alert. After intensive testing, someone I know can solve the Rubix Cube 20 seconds faster when stoned. (not scientific proof, yet interesting). Stimulants will keep workers productive at the end of long work days.

Phil Smith summarizes an article in March 1990 Scientific American [SATC]:

[The article] suggested that workers who tested positive for marijuana only: 1) cost less in health insurance benefits; 2) had a higher than average rate of promotion; 3) exhibited less absenteeism; and 4) were fired for cause less often than workers who did not test positive. Since marijuana is the most common illicit drug used by adults, and the one detected in up to 90 percent of all "positive" drug tests (half of which are false), this fact has radical implications for current public and employer policies.

I could hardly believe what I was reading, but this article did carry significant statistical evidence.

I see greater negative effects in drug testing than in drug use. In my opinion, drug testing is un-American because guilt is assumed until the test proves innocence. The peoples' civil liberties are suffering. This particular privacy intrusion costs businesses $1.2 billion a year for urinanalysis of their workers.

If the negative effects of drug use begin to show in the worker's performance, then let it be unsatisfactory performance that leads to corrective action, not suspicion of an unpopular lifestyle.

Nightbyrd has "counseled several, very straight, elderly workers - close to retirement - who were fired and lost their pension benefits because they 'failed their drug test'" (Jeff Nightbyrd).

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