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tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:09 PM

COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE WAR ON DRUGS

This is about my step-daughter who recently received her MSW. She was thrilled to be offered a job with some form of corporation that ran a bunch of group homes and provided family therapy/counseling. Around this same time, she was in an automobile accident, in which the other driver failed to stop. My daughter was injured enough to end up in the hospital for two days. I think before the accident she was sent out-of-state for some training, but this might have occurred right after her discharge.

At the hospital, she was placed on an IV. While in the hospital, she learned her employer did drug tests (this was not mentioned when she was hired, not that that makes a big difference to me), and upon her discharge, she went to the designated lab for the drug testing. She than learned about a week later that the drug test result showed her urine to be "diluted", although it was negative for whatever drugs they were testing for. Nonetheless, because the sample was "diluted", that was treated as a failure by the employer. My step-daughter learned from her doctor that being connected to an IV for an extended period is well known to cause sample dilution. My daughter took to her employer her hospital records, a note from her doctor explaining that the continuous IV could have resulted in in sample "dilution", and the results of another drug test she paid for at her own expense, which was negative and not diluted.

Initially, the woman who hired her suggested they still might employ her under the described circumstances. The person next up the chain who she spoke with just kept repeating that if they made an exception for my step-daughter, they would have to for everybody else. Nonsense. First, under employment law, this statement is simply untrue,. Second, I think they SHOULD make an exception for anybody who failed for a diluted sample who could establish circumstances reasonably explaining why the sample might be diluted in the absence of cleansing oneself to remove evidence of illegal substances. My daughter did manage to get this supervisor to go to the top person (or at least say should would), but my daughter was ultimately terminated before ever getting a chance to do anything but training as corporate said the firing stood.

I was surprised at the above only because I would have thought that people in the social work profession would not be so condemnatory and would not inflexibly apply a rule without regard to the circumstances. Of course, it was corporate types -- not the social workers -- who had the ultimate say over what to do. My step-daughter is now unemployed, and had purchased a car -- with attendant loan -- to replace the vehicle totalled in her accident on the belief that she had a job.

Don't believe that you have nothing to fear from drug testing if you're not using. I have heard of false positives screwing up people's employment, but this is the first time I heard of losing employment due to a diluted sample. In any event, this is another way in which drug prohibition has caused problems for a family member of mine. She is truly collateral damage in the metaphorical War on Drugs.

papajensai
Papajensai  (Level: 193.5 - Posts: 1025)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:29 PM

There are a lot of people making a lot of money in this War on (some) Drugs. The testers and the interpreters and the cowboy cops and the bureaucrats and oh, don't forget the drug dealers themselves, who would see their products plummet in price if they were not illegal. So a few innocents get hurt; so what? That's just blowback from the Holy War to keep our clean-cut way of life from being polluted by those foreign chemicals. It's not just that it doesn't prevent anyone from abusing drugs if they want to; it also causes untold trouble for a lot of innocent people, and actually perpetuates the "drug problem" it claims to be against.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:34 PM

And this is not just a lost job, it's something that may follow her and hurt her earning potential for her working life.

Thank you so much for sharing your story, Tim, all the best to your family. Do you have a case? Can you sue?

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.1 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:37 PM

What a lousy break!

I hope your daughter is A-OK.

But, TSK, as a crafty lawyer, I'll bet you can think of a way to overcome this.

In your shoes I'd do a little networking on this kind of test result and then start with a gentle call to her employer as her lawyer. For example, perhaps they'd like to repeat the test.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21605)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:37 PM

It makes the 'bad guy" much richer for sure as did Prohibition and does nothing to change people drinking or using whatever behavior except make what they do to get it a crime as well.

salzypat
Salzypat  (Level: 156.5 - Posts: 5316)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 1:40 PM

We all want life to be fair. There were extenuating circumstances and she had proof. The "fair" thing to do would have been to acknowledge the second test.

Unfortunately as my son says, who told us life would be fair?

But this situation really stinks in my book. Smoke is right, this may follow her to other jobs. Let's hope the management of any future company where she might apply have something we are in short supply of today -- common sense.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 2:08 PM

1. My step-daughter actually did speak to a lawyer in Alabama where this happened, who told her the employer could impose whatever conditions on employment it wants. I didn't tell her to get a second opinion, because what she was told was essentially what I believe the law is in all states -- at least with respect to drug tests. Actually she was not "fired", the offer of employment was "withdrawn". A distinction I find dubious since she did do the training, but not one that is legally significant.

2. There might be a viable claim against the employer for promissory estoppel, but the damages she would be entitled to for that would be, at most, the amount due on the car. I don't know that this theory would work in Alabama, but she would have to show that she justifiably relied on the extension of the job offer in the decision to purchase the car and suffered detriment when the offer was withdrawn.

3. To top things off, the woman who hit her has no insurance.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21605)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 2:11 PM

So sad and so sorry, Tsk-please see pm-Linda

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 2:36 PM

1. Thanks for the support.

2. I'm not so concerned about the diluted sample result following her because there are privacy laws which would forbid disclosing this type of information to a third-party.

3. I am still optimistic for my daughter's prospects somewhere. She actually won a competitive internship for a placement in Washington, D.C. , where she was for four or five months. She actually got three offers of employment that arose from the internship; however, she did not like Washington and did not want to live there permanently. She has also received a couple of letters from potential employers asking her to call for an interview.



bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 2:55 PM

I am sorry for your daughter Tsk, I have a BSW. They are really getting ridiculous in the workplace as far as drug tests. I am a recent candidate in the job seeking market. I have been applying at many major corporations. They want drug tests, credit checks and background checks. I was offered employment and am currently working part time, I took what was offered as I was unemployed. They seem to want to go back into your past for criminal background, one company went back 20 years in all 50 states. It was really unbelievable and that particular job was an entry level position. I am sorry but the drug testing especially the oral ones are faulty. Tell you more later in a pm Tsk. I think the information age has gone too far in doing background on potential employees. I understand they have to be cautious but we need to be able to give people a second chance. Other wise some people will have no recourse but to continue a life of drug use and crime. I don't want to mislead you I am not saying that drug testing should not be used. They should be more accurate and in a case such as this given a second test. Also can they not look into the content of the applicants character and resume. At the graduate level there is many years of hard work that goes into that resume.

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.1 - Posts: 9952)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 3:18 PM

Well, TSK, if the law is in their favor, then another route if this is a job worth pursuing.

I recommend rocking the boat gently if you can find a lever.

Be inventive.

weyoun
Weyoun  (Level: 230.2 - Posts: 36)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 3:31 PM

This has less to do with the war on drugs and more to do with a stupid employer. If you daughter has options, it sounds like she is better off at a less bureaucratic, less idiotic place. Once this is all said and done, can you post the name of this idiot company?

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 3:40 PM

I personally think that the "ethics" surrounding firings in general are sorely lacking in the U.S.. I'm not surprised. In some countries, there are from what I'm told much stricter laws about how to go about it, I wish we had more of them here. I'm sorry for your loss, society of course SHOULD be fair whether it happens to be or not. I agree, a lack of ethics deserves a loss of reputation, post the name of the company.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 3:56 PM

I would be interested in reading her employment offer letter. I wonder if promissory estoppel would apply if she is specifically designated as an employee-at-will.

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 4:22 PM

I know I live in an "at will" state. I think it is unfortunate that so much is in favor of employers. Even after offered a position and you actually start work you sign an agreement that the job can be terminated "at will". This insures the employer the right to offer employment, take you out of job market, waste your time and then may at any time let you go. No questions asked just like that terminate employment, the situation has gotten so intirely one sided it is crazy. It is very unfair and I hope you can find some recourse in your situation, barring that maybe she is better off somewhere else. Perhaps this is a sign that they would not have been a good employer to work for. Although if she already took out a loan on future income from the employer that is just an unfair situation. It almost seems that employers look for a way to penalize prospective employees. Thereby losing many qualified applicants. There is a reason sometimes when you walk into a business and all you see are young kids and senior citizens working there. They are the only ones who don't have a history.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 5:31 PM

I know someone who was fired once for an illegal reason. Being young, poor and ignorant of the laws, he/she could not hire attorney to defend themselves, nor did they even know that it was illegal until too much time had passed. Such is the nature of "at will" employment in the U.S. They were however, due to the employer's indiscretion, and not the employee's, punished through wages and underemployed by other employers for probably 3-5 years afterwards regarding that one event where the employer violated a federal law. It still comes up for them from time to time 8 years later. Shame, shame! I know their name.....

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 5:32 PM

Talk about adding injury to insult!!

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 5:43 PM

1. Lodi, I think in all states the employment relationship is presumptively at-will, but this can be changed by contract. I suspect that in some states the at-will employment relationship would be fatal to a promissory estoppel claim because the courts have held that there can be no reasonable reliance on continued employment precisely because the employment relationship is at-will. I know about 25 years ago, there was michigan Supreme Court precedent allowing promissory estoppel as a claim, although an at-will relationship. I actually do have a vague recollection that that line of cases may have been overruled at some point by the Michigan Supreme Court. I am highly doubtful that Alabama law provides greater protection to workers than Michigan law. There are lots of other potential problems with such a claim too.

2. Unlikely to post the name of the company. I'm worried that it could come back against her if I did. I also think suing that employer -- particularly given the state of the
law -- would be unproductive and likely detrimental, as it is far more likely that it would get around that she sued an employer than that she had a "diluted sample" drug test. I only give my first name on the Sploofus profile because I am sure that some of my comments on the site could cause me problems with my own, now part time relationship, with my employer. I have intentionally refrained from participating at any social networking site to preserve such privacy as one has today in the U.S.

3. Under the circumstances, my step-daughter would have been looking for another job almost as soon as she was hired so Bobo, I absolutely agree that it is unlikely the job would ultimately have proven to be somewhere she would want to stay.

4. The employer may be stupid, but politics do matter, and this is a War on Drugs issue. When Nixon declared the War on Drugs, almost no employers were drug testing. In the initial stages of the war, many employers resisted testing due to the costs involved, but over time some incredibly high percentage of Fortune 500 companies were drug testing -- as well as many governments and smaller businesses. This developed over time, for a variety of reasons, such as many governments requiring "Drug Free Workplace" policies as a condition to obtaining government contracts and some employers simply coming to realize the benefits of drug testing as a method of control. I don't think businesses just one day realized, oh, we have a lot of drugged up employees and need to do something about it. Widespread drug testing in without particularized suspicion of drug use most certainly is a direct result of the on-going "War on Drugs". I think people should never forget how the political impacts the personal realm, and should be constantly vigilant to see the connections between politics and personal life.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 5:52 PM

Tsk said, "and this is a War on Drugs issue".

I think there are multiple issues here, the war on drugs just being one, at will employment and the power to destroy reputations and maim people when used improperly another. That being said, it is your thread, and can go in that direction if you'd like it to. I'm in favor of the legalization of marijuana, and will go no further (unless something catches my eye!!) on this thread!

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 6:03 PM

Ladd: I agree that other political issues are also involved, including employment law in this country. In this case, it was the combination of the War of Drugs and the law of employment that permitted this situation to arise, but in the absence of the "War on Drugs", it is most unlikely she would have been drug tested.

Working people definitely do get the short straw in the US in many, many ways.

madamec8
Madamec8  (Level: 82.9 - Posts: 893)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 6:10 PM

Tim, this is indeed a sad story, and unfortunately reflective of the lack of common sense and flexibility in large companies. The refusals sound more like CYA, not what's right for the company. I understand the need for extra diligence when it comes to caregivers and the like.

As to employment at will -- unless there are teeth in the law with financial penalties (regardless of 'damages') it is impossible to fight. 'At will' works both ways, except it isn't a level playing field. The best one can do is get an employment contract that addresses termination up front, but you're not going to see that below the level of executives. Notice how they can destroy a company and walk away with millions? We have laws against discrimination in the work place -- they have no teeth, especially for seniors. I read some good advice one time ... you don't WANT to work for a company like that, there are companies who welcome qualified seniors. Your niece may have dodged a bullet by not working for that outfit.

You're right about the ridiculous war on drugs. Our jails are a revolving door for street level users and dealers who are expendable in the eyes of the 'big boys'. I attended a 12-week 'citizens academy' at our city's police department, and what an eye-opener that was. The narcotics officers spoke to us during two of the sessions, and I asked one a question about the war on drugs. He stopped, looked me straight in the eyes, and said 'there IS no war on drugs'. He told us about the major points of entry, especially from Mexico and South America, the transportation routes, and the hubs for further distribution. He told us exactly where it happened in my state, where it was distributed, and said none of it is a secret to law enforcement or other government officials.

I wish her well, she does have credentials to build her resume; she might have to work somewhere else for a while, but since employment is at will she can always relocate to a more desirable location.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 6:19 PM

1. TSK - there is a case I briefly studied but I have it in my books at work, and I'm at home today. Tomorrow I will look at it and if it is applicable, I will forward to you.

2. Employment-at-will is necessary or it would ruin businesses. It is also a positive in the reverse. Ever left a job because you found one you liked better or that paid more, and you needed to start within a couple of weeks? Imagine being under contract and that opportunity being taken away because you couldn't start when you needed to.

3. TSK - about that privacy issue, I will pm you.

toddhoff
Toddhoff  (Level: 52.2 - Posts: 37)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 6:30 PM

Guess I'm a crazy right-winger but I would prefer to hire someone who is not doing (and possibly addicted to) drugs. Does anyone realize it is an employers market out in the real world right now?

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 6:46 PM

It certainly is an employers world out there. We were speaking to a circumstance where the tests were at fault. Because the potential employee had recently been in the hospital on IV. Thus diluting the drug screen, instead of viewing the special circumstances the offer of employment was withdrawn. I would think employers would want the best person for the job as well as someone who is drug free. Tsk's daughter was drug free, she took another test at her own expense. Maybe you didn't read the whole thread.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 7:20 PM

Lodi: "Employment-at-will is necessary or it would ruin businesses. It is also a positive in the reverse. Ever left a job because you found one you liked better or that paid more, and you needed to start within a couple of weeks? Imagine being under contract and that opportunity being taken away because you couldn't start when you needed to."

Agreed. You made a valid economic argument, one that cannot be argued with when considering economics alone. My problem is that businesses are a part of society, and so are individuals, and as such they should consider more than mere economics in their decisions.

The issue for me though regarding businesses is that they are in control. Imagine a situation where if you left a company, nobody would give your business (creating financial problems) or you had difficulties hiring new employees for years (due to "reputation" issues), and the aftereffects lasted almost a decade. For most of us of course, that wouldn't apply. Maybe if Bill Gates left Microsoft, but such people do not because they are generally so well compensated. I'm not going to complain about salaries of that type, I will say that I believe that workers need further laws "in general", perhaps not so strict as some countries have gone, to protect people from situations businesses just "in general" do not face. The problem of course is that the situation is stacked too strongly in favor of the business.

Besides, socially these people who have been "stigmatized" and "branded" are now societies problem in many, many ways.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21605)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 7:39 PM

Anyone and Everyone whoo understood what you jjust said, Jeremy, certainly have my respect Linda

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 7:54 PM

Haha Linda, but I wasn't done!!

I think one could also make the argument that NOT having at least "some" further restrictions on firing actually hurts businesses. In my dad's business, which I work for, we are free of course to ignore "standard" human resource policy to blackball previously fired employees. We are running a small business, but we have three employees who have been previously "fired" within the last two jobs from large companies. One turned out to be a mediocre worker at best, of the other two I would put one in the top three employees and the other one so far has turned out to be our absolute best IMO. The precious loss of talent that we are now capitilizing on! Yeehaw! Of course, I'll leave it up to you to decide whether that says more about them or their previous employers.....Firing employees over trivial matters represents a loss of talent at times that could translate into loss of revenue for employers. I'm not suggesting no firing of course, but certainly far more care and perhaps (yes I said it) some restrictions in the practice than we see today.

toddhoff
Toddhoff  (Level: 52.2 - Posts: 37)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 7:55 PM

I admit I mostly skimmed through the thread but saw this statement: "but in the absence of the "War on Drugs", it is most unlikely she would have been drug tested". I did not agree with that statement. I have been involved in quite a few hiring processes and in almost every case, there are many candidates that are qualified and the interviewers do not agree on one clear-cut "best candidate". After interview screenings such as reference checking, drug screening, credit checking, etc. are useful in providing input from sources outside of the candidate themselves and can help employers identify the best candidate.

Due to our litigious society, businesses cannot afford to be inconsistent in their hiring rules and practices. Once you make exceptions, any prospective employee can sue if they don’t receive the same exceptions to the rules.


bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:06 PM

Understood you are coming from different perspective. I totally disagree with you of course not on drug testing, but on more in depth background checking. There is too much access to information that goes to far back in a prospective employees life. I think it is wrong that something that happens 20 years ago can effect an employment situation in a persons life. Why should they be allowed so much freedom of information it has just gone beyond 1984 and big brother.

toddhoff
Toddhoff  (Level: 52.2 - Posts: 37)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:33 PM

"Too much freedom" ... I don't believe there is such a thing if you stay within existing laws. Perhaps we disagree on that point. I do agree though that the longer ago a negative occurred, the less weight it has in the decision. I must have missed the comment that the issue involved here was over 20 years ago. Personally, I approach business hiring like I would approach hiring a nanny for my kids. I want to feel very confident that I can trust the individual to do the best job they can and that they have the experience and ability to perform the responsibilities well.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:39 PM

On employer viability under a standard other than "at-will", I do note that "at-will" is not the typical relationship in at least many European countries. The link is to the Wikipedia article on UK's Employment Rights Act of 1996, which was enacted under a Conservative government! (Actually, I don't now how much different it was from an earlier 1963 law that I understand it expanded upon). In any event, businesses still exist in those European countries where you can't arbitrarily fire your employees: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_Rights_Act_1996.



smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:40 PM

I have ethical concerns with the credit check.....which I think is "probably" what Bobo is referring to. Otherwise, I agree with you (as far as I know) completely Todd.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:48 PM

I took the 20 year mark to be an exagerration of some kind on her part.

Tsk: thanks for the link, and for some context to the discussion.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:51 PM

People can file lawsuits over anything, but I am not aware of any states with laws that preclude private -- as opposed to public -- employers from basing their hiring decisions on whatever inconsistent and arbitrary criteria they want to use, so long as illegal discrimination is not involved.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 8:58 PM

Bobo - do you think its important to know if the person you are hiring as a bookkeeper had previously been convicted of embezzlement? How about hiring someone as a nanny and finding out she burned her own child with cigarettes twenty years ago? Employers have to be careful. Many companies are small family businesses. They do not have the capacity or resources to provide protection to employees. To do so would be costly enough to put them out of business. And the person they hire has to be trustworthy. The damage from one dishonest person could bring a small business to their knees. Not only is there a potential of costing the business a lot of money, but the damage the employee does could cause the business owners to be sued by a third party. Businesses must also buy liability insurance. Sometimes the demands of the insurance company is that any employee working in a given area must have passed a background check.

You can't demand contractual employee protection and then poopoo the background checks. That's having your cake and eating it too, and sorry, you just can't have it both ways. If you want to work for a company or an agency willing to provide you with a contract, you can bet on some extensive background checks because the person they hire is going to be worthy of the contract. If you refuse to go through background checks, then you will have to work for some place who offers employment-at-will.



oldcougar
Oldcougar  (Level: 220.4 - Posts: 1935)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 9:04 PM

Drug testing has become very prevalent in Canada too, by way of Alberta oil patch, by way of largely American owned businesses. The argument is that it is for safety reasons & I support them being able to drug test where an accident has occurred or someone appears out of it. Pre-screening & random testing is an abuse of human rights not to mention that they are not concerned if there is alcohol or any of the legally prescribed drugs found in your urine that may inhibit your ability to run machinery. The saddest part is that drugs like cocaine & heroin are easily flushed from ones system but attending a couple of parties where others, not you have smoked marijuana can cost you your job. In Canada if you are fired you are unable to collect Employment Insurance. We are also seeing a rise in unjust terminations for various other things. In all cases, even though you paid your premiums, it is now up to you to hire a lawyer to right the wrong & when you're unemployed who's got the funds for that. Working conditions were better in the 70's than they are now. And make no mistake, every time businesses & governments get away these practises we all lose a little more of that freedom we fought 2 World Wars for.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 9:16 PM

My husband's company has random drug testing. I don't suppose they would appreciate him taking out a family of 6 in his company pickup while high. Not to mention all the dangerous equipment in the sawmill and what that could do to someone who was using, or what they could do to someone else. It really isn't intended as an invasion of privacy just for sh**s & giggles of the company. They pay for the tests and they aren't cheap. There really are safety and liability issues at stake and the costs of the tests are small compared to the loss of life.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Mon, 15th Jun '09 9:25 PM

I'd really love to join in the drug testing debate, but I haven't really thought much about that side of the issue, lol. This is an interesting thread...

collioure
Collioure  (Level: 105.1 - Posts: 9952)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 2:46 AM

TSK, the European situation is not an answer. It prevents people from being hired in the first place and contributes to chronic unemployment.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 2:52 AM

Oh goody, this thread has been continued. What would a solution be then? I find it hard to discuss a "european solution" when the countries differ (from what I remember of my business class) so much between each other on the issue. If it is to be discussed, I would personally prefer something more specific. America's "answer" to me is clearly not the solution either. Where does that leave us then?

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 4:38 PM

I was speaking about an "at will employer and before you rush in to judge you may want to get all the facts. I am not going to divulge anything personal here and get backlash from it. Suffice it to say that it has gotten out of hand in my opinion, when employers conduct extensive background checks for entry level positions. Something that happens in a persons life 20 years ago, to my way of consideration, is no longer valid today. This employment situation is occurring everywhere nowadays not just in managerial positions, or positions of security. I am talking in fast food chains are doing this kind of informational checks so you can get a job flipping burgers. Please don't disagree with me just on principle, oh I am an employer and I have a right to know, that is bull----. You don't need to go back 20 years into someones background for an entry level position. I see it as more abuse by corporations of labor in a depressed economy.

bigmama60
Bigmama60  (Level: 95.2 - Posts: 6648)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 5:03 PM

I 'm curious about the job. Who is doing that job now? I can remember an instance on my last job. The job was always available but never filled. There were lots of wild speculations.The hospital was too cheap, they were keeping it open to concur with the fair employment act, the benefits and pay were cut, therefore no one would accept it; and the list goes on and on..

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 5:25 PM

I will do a pm and talk to you. I don't like talking about it in view. Too many people on this forum are way to judgemental. Also how long ago has anyone of you been in the job market? No one is talking about someone caring for your child who is a child molester that is just pure exaggeration. Those are not the corporations I am referring to. I guess it just doesn't bother people that America's corporations have labor in a vise right now and they are putting on the squeeze. I am also getting impatient with the present administration and don't see any attempts for making this better. They give money to bail out banks and the auto industry and teachers are losing their jobs. Corporations are capitalizing on the fact that we are in a recession to get cheaper and cheaper labor, and weed people out of the system. We will all pay the price for that in terms of more crime, drug use and poverty. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor.

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 5:30 PM

By the way I am not talkiing about drug testing, I believe in certain situations it is necessary. Most insurance companies now require it. I am with Cougar I think random testing is a civil rights violation. Some of the corps. I was referriing to didn't really care about drug testing as much as background checking and credit checks.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 6:55 PM

The hiring process, even without extensive background searches, is extremely flawed anyways. Because the interview process relies so much on self-report, when I was younger my friends and I jokingly say about our interviews, “May the best liar win!” The pattern of my hiring history and theirs as well, pretty much followed the pattern of where you lie and “embellish” a whole lot you get the job and when you don’t you aren’t given a call back for further interviews. I’ve never been quite sure why this is. I assume it’s because in a competitive environment if you are willing to reveal weaknesses and some other applicant isn’t, it means you aren’t as attractive as the next guy. Not that I know what the solutions to that problem are, lol, and I'm much more honest now at this point in my life.

Other than that, here are some of my "concerns" with using credit checks in particular when it comes to hiring are as follows (This btw was "part of a paper" I wrote a really long time ago, so ignore the references!! ):

Credit ratings can be completely arbitrary, random and unfair, and may at times go against everything America claims to stand for, which is basically equal opportunity for all. Despite the popular feeling that they can tell you something about the private “spending habits” of a potential borrower, often times they really can’t. They contribute to societies ills such as racism and sexism, and ultimately undermine global justice. Consider for example, the fact that medical catastrophes, divorce, and layoffs are the cause of 87% percent of bankruptcies (Birnbaum, 2004).

Often the assumption is that bankruptcy is instead caused by poor spending habits or trying to live beyond your means. Do these things sound like things that people can “control”? Instead, these are all things that to a very great extent are beyond anybody’s control. You can put all the effort you want into a marriage, but if the other person doesn’t do as they should your marriage will fail anyway. For example, if the other person doesn’t try or changes their mind, now the individual who was not responsible for the failure of the marriage is penalized for it through credit scores. Also, life circumstances can cause a marriage to fail and not the parties involved. This is a situation often times beyond your control that society forces you to take “personal” responsibility for. No one can predict a medical catastrophe, and even the most educated or prepared are sometimes laid off due to circumstances beyond their control. When these things happen to due to no fault of your own, rates will go up across the board on various loans, and “late fees” are added to everything making it impossible to keep up, even if none of these things had happened to you. People are even denied jobs based off this sometimes random arbitrary score, making it impossible to rectify the situation.

Especially when it comes to the denial of jobs, this is where credit scores can really contribute to racism and sexism. Although according to one recent study men are far more likely to be psychologically damaged by a divorce than women, financially in the short run women are much more likely to take a hit (Krech, 2007). Credit scores can really affect a women’s ability to recover. Minorities are more likely to be laid off than white workers; most likely giving them a lower credit score as well (Elvira & Zatzick, 2002).

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 7:07 PM

Ladd: My favorite is the current use of credit ratings by insurers to price automobile and homeowners policies. You get discounts for a good credit rating, and surcharged if you have a bad one. I think my auto insurer has 15 different categories, depending on your credit score. The people who can least afford the insurance in general pay the most for it because they often don't have good credit ratings. (This practice is not legal in all states.)

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 9:13 PM

Wow, my car insurer, as far as I know, does not do that (thank goodness). I think I've heard of this practice in local news and bills being sponsored on that, either here or in Washington state. I can see why. After reading your post I've heard some pretty good arguments about it. I still think I could give better arguments than the ones I've found given enough time to look into it, lol, but interesting, thanks Mr. Tim.

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 10:02 PM

It is almost catch-22. You are looking for a job to get out of debt and better yourself. You are in debt and can't pay bills so your credit is effected and you can't get a better job. Catch-22 boy Joseph Heller knew what he was talking about.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Tue, 16th Jun '09 10:31 PM

In my son's job, if he has someone else from the company in his vehicle and gets pulled over, and that other employee doesn't pass a drug test, they are both fired. But it can be a dangerous job. People get hurt even not impaired.


I think ALL teachers should be randomly tested for drugs. We're in charge of keeping our most precious citizens safe and preparing them for the future.

But it'll never happen. Most university ed departments are headed up by professors who are riddled with the drug culture. Apparently, there would be lots of teaching openings if they tested us.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:04 PM

Jank:

1. Assuming that what you say is accurate about your son's employer's practices -- and assuming the drug tests are the usual urine or blood tests -- what the employer does is absolutely outrageous. These drug tests only identify use at some point in the past; they do not address how or when somebody became exposed to the illegal substance. Your son being in a vehicle in which his co-employee, for instance, tests positive for marijuana, says nothing about your son's knowledge of the co-employee's activities. Why is your son responsible for a co-employee's recreational drug use -- particularly drug use of which he would have no knowledge? Yet, you contend your son's employer would fire him for being in a vehicle being driven by a co-employee who tests positive for marijuana. I have to say that I consider this an even greater outrage than what befell my step-daughter -- yet you don't seem troubled by the employer's practice. Maybe you would if your son actually lost his job because in a vehicle in which a co-worker who tested positive for marijuana use.

2. I don't oppose drug testing under all circumstances. For instance, if there is a particularized reason to believe an employee is impaired on some sort of drug, I don't have a problem with the employer ordering a drug test, but I certainly opposed to random testing, and opposed to any testing regimen which is preclusive, that is, the employee is given no opportunity to challenge the result. One way to control for false positives are split samples so that the remaining sample can be tested if the initial test is positive. Of course, this is not generally done because the cost is greater when you ask labs to split and store samples. So to save a few bucks, most employers are more than willing to throw an employee under the proverbial bus.

3. Obviously, I oppose routine or random drug testing of teachers and all other employees. As I have told you in the past, I am confident that at least in Michigan children aren't being endangered because their teachers aren't randomly drug tested. Again, if there is an actual reason to believe a teacher is drugged out, a drug test for that teacher might be appropriate.

4. The drug that causes employers in the US the greatest productivity and liability costs is the legal drug, alcohol.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:12 PM

Tsk - my son drives a company-owned vehicle, so I'm not at all disturbed by their rules.

1. My son is VERY affected if his co-employee uses anything that impairs his judgement. It's one thing to be doing their job if it weren't deadly if done wrong. We very much want all employees who work for that company to be impairment free - my son's life could be in danger by someone else's foolishness while working together. So he and I and all employees I know of are very happy with the rule. The rule isn't about being in a company vehicle impaired. The only reason they are in that vehicle is because they are on the way to work together on a dangerous job.

2. I ONLY believe in random testing. No other testing is blind and therefore valid.

3. Have you never heard the crap that comes out of a drug-impaired person's mouth? It's not healthy and nothing I want my child to be around. And I certainly don't want that person training my child for anything.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:13 PM

Sorry - I'm errant in one major thing here. I do need to solidify my stand that I do not want anyone falsely accused or punished. All results should be subject to challenge by the testee.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:29 PM

Much rather do a dangerous job with someone who was high last week than with someone who was drunk last night.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:31 PM

Jank, I appreciate that you think somebody who fails a drug test should have some rights to challenge that, and maybe I misunderstand the policies of your son's employer so I'm restating them here to make sure I understand: If your son is in a vehicle with a co-worker who is driving, and the co-worker tests positive for, say, marijuana use, your son gets fired too even though he is absolutely clean. Is this so? If so, what do you think your son should get to challenge: (a) whether he was in the vehicle or (b) whether the co-worker's positive test was "false", because if I'm understanding (c) your son having no knowledge that the co-worker had smoked marijuana is not a valid defense to your son's dismissal.

The most outrageous gibberish to which I have been subjected has come from the mouths of people who are drunk.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:49 PM

Donna - but if they were high last week, would they be impaired to the same extent as within 3 days of use?

I truly don't know. Many say drug usage doesn't impair but temporarily.

These are the same people who say "those who remember the 60s didn't live them.) I have friends who are always forgetting or messing up something, with the excuse the 60s were good to me!

I think all who have used illegal drugs wonder how long lasting the effects are, as well as many who have used prescription drugs...or even natural herbs.

If drug usage (and that means legal drugs, also) destroy brain cells or have a much further-lasting effect, then I don't think that person could even get a job with this company. They are random drug tested every month and have to have a full physical before employment.

When you do a job where lives depend on its accuracy, not to mention millions of $$ of equipment, that job comes with very explicitly laid out rules.

The guys talk. My son is a marine (in the sense that once a marine, always a marine) and left at staff sergeant rank. He makes sure as a supervisor he knows who he is working with. He alone drives his vehicle, also. Other than that, it could happen that he wouldn't know, and if something happened, he'd be fired also because of the illegal drug usage of a co-employee. He knew that when he signed on the dotted line and accepted the responsibility. If he had not known that was the rule, then yes, we would have more problem with it.

My son has only been fired once. After work once he attempted to cash his payroll check at the company's bank rather than his own, because it was late and the company's bank was closer. For some reason he ended up with a novice who refused to cash the check if he himself did not have an account there.

He, after trying to explain how he had done this many times before, and after being repeatedly turned down and refused to be allowed to speak to someone higher up as it was right before closing time, used the "d" word at the girl.

He was wearing clothes that identified him as an employee of the company. This girl called the company, and the company called him in and asked if he had truly said that, because they didn't believe it - they had never seen him lose his cool before. He, of course, told them he did. He was fired on the spot as a representative of the company to the bank.

It happens. He won't let it happen again, no matter how important that check was for whatever he and his family needed immediately.

He also has come up behind 2 different car crashes where he aided someone who died in his arms. He is now obsessive about safe driving, no matter what kind of impairment. He is a changed man from those 2 experiences. Plus his best friend's sister was killed in a car crash in Denton, a year after having survived 9/11 next to the WTC.

I'm willing to bet you guys don't hang out with many people like us. We, however, have lots of friends like us. I understand if you don't understand us.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 2:59 PM

The point is that even if they were high last night, they're still going to be safer to, say, diffuse a bomb or drive a school bus than someone whose hands are shaking, stomach heaving, head pounding. But nobody's going to randomly demand the drunk's internal body fluids to check for alcohol, certainly not as a condition for employment.

The point is your son can lose his job for even being with someone who was high weeks ago, but he could be working perfectly legally every day with habitual drunks with the DTs, if they can hide it and keep the smell off their breath. That's crap.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:03 PM

Just wanted to add that a lot of people blame their stupidity on smoking pot in the '60s, when the truth is they were just not that bright to begin with.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:13 PM

hehehehehe!

I totally agree with the alcohol thing too. It's just that buying alcohol is completely legal and using it except when its use could endanger others is also. Usiing non-prescription drugs requires breaking 2 laws even if you don't endanger anyone else.

I hate it all. I wish none of it had ever been created/invented/discovered. I wish nobody would EVER put anything questionable in their body. And mean ANYTHING questionable. What's with humans, anyway? What's wrong with us that we want to experiment on ourselves? Aren't there enough non-human things out there to experiment on without endangering ourselves?

We think we're so smart. We prove every day just how NOT we are.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:15 PM

When you own your own business, you get to call the shots on the types of employees you hire. Some people only want drug-free employees. Some people want background checks. Heck, there's a multibazillion dollar engineering firm right here in Pullman, WA who has an employment policy where they only hire non-smokers. You can complain about it all you want, but if you accept their offer of employment based on their terms and policies, then that's just the way it is. Its

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:16 PM

stupid enter key!

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:28 PM

TSK: Check out Ardito v. City of Providence, United States District Court, District of Rhode Island, 2003, 263 F.Supp.2d, 358.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:40 PM

1. "I'm willing to bet you guys don't hang out with many people like us. We, however, have lots of friends like us. I understand if you don't understand us." At least in my case, Jank, it depends on what characteristics you are referring to when you refer to "people like us". If you mean Christian fundamentalists, at least in my case, I don't hang out with many of you. I'm not sure what about you you think we don't understand -- so I can't say whether that is an accurate observation -- at least with respect to me -- in any event.

2. Jank, I don't think your son should have been fired for what he said. I am curious whether you believe that your son's then-employer's decision to fire him was consistent with what the majority of Texas-based employers would have done or whether you think it was just an unusual employer. I don't believe many employers in Michigan would fire somebody for what you described, and among those who would use that as a basis of discharge, for the vast majority, I would believe that there was some other reason that they wanted to get rid of the employee.

3. Yes, Lodi, I realize full well that employment law protects capital and allows capital to run roughshod over the rights of labor. I just happen to think this is not a desirable state of affairs, and, of course, if nobody complains about it, there will never be improvement. Capital in the USA has definitely been successful in so many ways in getting labor to fight with itself, which just results in further deterioration of conditions for labor.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:42 PM

Thanks Lodi, i will.

lodi
Lodi  (Level: 98.8 - Posts: 2144)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 3:44 PM

I don't know if it will apply or not, but the case is based on a unilateral contract that resulted from an offer of employment, and the employees meeting the conditions thereof.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 5:40 PM

Tsk - by "people like us," I mean people who accept the terms of an employer as their right to set without question or we go somewhere else for employment.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 6:22 PM

Jank: I understand all too well accepting the terms of employment unilaterally dictated by an employer. I'm afraid it is an almost universal condition. That said, as a matter of policy, I also believe that there should be limits on the terms of employment that can be imposed. I would certainly support legislation that would outlaw as a term of employment, for instance, that the worker can be fired because a co-worker tests positive for drugs.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 6:25 PM

Unless I heard a good defense of said policy that I haven't thought of, I'm sure I would support that legislation as well.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 6:35 PM

Gee, Jan, that must be all KINDS of people.

I don't question the right of someone to agree to and abide by the conditions of employment if that's their choice. I just don't think routine and repeated confiscation of the your body fluids should be among them without other factors in play. If the prospective (or present) employee gives cause for suspicion, drug testing should be among the measures used to determine a specific situation. If someone is seriously injured or injures someone else on the job, drug testing is not at all unreasonable in determining fault. Problem there is if the policy is for testing when injured, workers may hide serious injuries to protect their jobs.

I also have no problem with the testing of pilots, train operators, police, nuclear plant operators, or anyone whose job involves a risk to public safety, just don't see why everyone should be subject to search and seizure of the contents of the bodies as an automatic condition of employment.

Of course, if marijuana were legalized and taxed, the issue would disappear.

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 6:45 PM

I agree with Smoke, being an alcoholic myself I can tell you that they should test for abuse of that legal drug. They should find out about that in a pre employment situation, that causes many more employment hazards then all other illegal drugs combined. Also I know all to well where you are coming from in your defense of fundamentalist beliefs. My grand parents were fundamentalists and I understand the high moral background you are coming from. I am coming from the point of labor and as Tsk mentioned Capitol is squeezing labor more and more. All the background checks, credit checks and drug testing is just one way they are trying to squeeze labor. I wish we had a more socialized country and labor had some rights as far as employment. I don't think it is right for them to have access to all the information and credit checks are so not necessary for entry level positions. You don't need a credit score in the 700's to flip burgers. Lets face it someone has to do that job.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 7:39 PM

If you flip burgers, or are a gourmet cook, I'd be glad if they just would consistently incorporate washing your hands!

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 7:46 PM

There are serve-safe classes that many have to take now. A lot of brands are requiring the certification if you handle food. I agree wth this standard. You should know about food bourne illnesses if you prepare food for the public. But that isn't what I was referring to. It is fine to applaud your son and his high moral character but if he was on the other end of termination, that is a different issue. The drug testing is very failable and false positives do occur. People are terminated unjustly and this follows them in their employment history.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 7:52 PM

Sorry, Bobo, I didn't mean to leave you thinking I might be belittling your post. I agree that apparently from what I've read, drug testing is fallable.

The only time someone riding with my son would be tested would be if they were in a wreck of some kind. And I only bring it up because once an employee WAS obviously affected by a drug, and my refused to allow him to ride with him or to work on that particular test site.

But doesn't pot make you respond slower? Decisions that mean life or death that have to be made accurately in case of a crisis need to be made only by people who are fully focused.

I wouldn't do my son's job for nothing. I don't have to be impaired - I'm just slow. In the split second it takes for me to mull a decision, someone could be injured or die, so it's an even bigger deal at that particular job than just stuff illegally in your body.

And even if marijuana was legal, there would still be drug testing for other drugs. Frankly, in my son's job, if a fellow employee is impaired by a prescription, he/she has no business working during that time.

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 8:09 PM

With out going into all the effects of THC the active ingredient in marijuana, let me say this. It wears off very quickly and even a few hours later your reflexes and coordination would not be impaired. This is not true with alcohol, and hangovers are also dangerous. It can take 24 hours for the complete effect of alcohol to wear off. That is why you can past a standard drug test, they don't test for alcohol. If they do it washes out of your system, but THC is stored in the fat cells of your body for up to 30 days. Opiates and Cocaine usually don't remain in your system after 72 hours. So that is the break down, as you can see THC stays in the system longest. To my way of thinking it is the least harmful of all drugs including alcohol and nicotine.

jank0614
Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4597)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 8:37 PM

The least harmful, but residually lasts the longest?

As such, does repeated use build up in the tissues to cause the effect to be multiplied?


smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 8:47 PM


bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Wed, 17th Jun '09 9:09 PM

I am not suggesting that people drive under the influence of cannabis. I am stating that the effects do not build up in the tissue creating any lasting effect with more use. If that answers your question Jan, otherwise if you can get thru the lengthy scientific wikipedia information that is accurate. Don't be afraid of something you don't know about, find out about cannabis before forming an opinion. I am not saying endorse its use, just make and educated opinion.

tsk9653
Tsk9653  (Level: 113.2 - Posts: 1466)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 7:29 PM

Just thought I'd let all of you who followed what had happened to my step-daughter that she just accepted a job offer today, starting on July 5th. This job actually pays $3000 more a year than the first one.

smokydevil
Smokydevil  (Level: 163.0 - Posts: 5381)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 7:32 PM

That's good to hear. In this economy?? Nice work! Take her out to celebrate......

pepperdoc
Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4286)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 7:41 PM

That's very good news.

caramel1
Caramel1  (Level: 128.4 - Posts: 21605)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 7:51 PM

TSK, very happy for you and your family-Linda

bobolicios
Bobolicios  (Level: 118.8 - Posts: 1745)
Thu, 25th Jun '09 8:39 PM

Happy to hear about it Tsk, at least we are still hiring social workers in this country.


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