It’s Time to End All Drug Testing

As the reality of legalized marijuana inches closer and closer every day, more and more Americans are rethinking our society’s attitude towards drugs. But not the American Society of Addiction Medicine. In a recent white paper, the organization argued that we should start expanding drug testing at schools and in the workplace.

As that paper’s author put it, “The major need today is the wider and smarter use of the currently available drug testing technologies and practices.… Smarter drug testing means increased use of random testing rather than the more common scheduled testing, and it means testing not only urine but also other matrices such as blood, oral fluid (saliva), hair, nails, sweat and breath.”

I couldn’t disagree more. Drug testing is counterproductive, degrading, and invasive, and it’s we put an end to it once and for all. Although humans have used narcotics and intoxicants since the dawn of time, drug testing as know it is a relatively new phenomenon, and really took off with Nixon’s War on Drugs.

I had a friend back in the early 1970s - let’s call him Stanley - who sold drug purity testing kits out of the back of High Times magazine. It was a good business because it cost about ten cents for the drug-testing chemicals and he sold the testing kit for ten bucks plus shipping. By the 1980s, though, once the drug testing hysteria took off, he got really rich by selling his little drug-testing company for several million dollars.

The reason Stanley was able to sell his testing kits for such a big markup, of course, was that they’re hugely profitable. Today, ten cents worth of chemicals are sold for $30 to as much as $100. Drug testing is a multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry. And it’s only gotten bigger. According some estimates, approximately 84 percent of all American employers require pre-employment drug tests.

This is absolute insanity. There is little proof that drug tests do anything other than make testing companies rich. That’s because as the ACLU has concluded, “…drug tests do not measure impairment. Rather than looking for drugs, drug tests look for drug metabolites…As a result, drug tests mainly identify drug users who may have used a drug on the weekend, as they might use alcohol, and who are not under the influence of a drug while at work or when tested.”

That’s the biggest problem with drug testing. If an employee’s drug use actually affects their job performance, then their employer can and should have a discussion with them about it - and if they’re seriously impaired, get them into therapy or out of the job. Any other probing into an employee’s out of work behavior is just a violation of their basic right to privacy.

Think of it this way: there are a whole bunch of things that can affect someone’s job performance. Health issues, financial issues, spousal issues, quality of sleep, you name it. And if any one of those things becomes a problem, then an employer should work it out with his or her employee. But if we took the principle behind drug testing to its logical conclusion, then we’d let employers install cameras in their workers’ houses to see if they getting a full night’s sleep. After all, poor sleep can impair many people worse than moderate drug use.

Of course, people would say that monitoring employees’ sleep is an insane idea. But it’s just as insane as making people pee into a cup to work at a factory. There is maybe a case to be made that some jobs, like being a commercial airline pilot, are so dangerous that we should require drug testing for them. But I know from years of experience as a pilot and passenger that the people who work in the airline industry are so concerned about their safety, as well as the safety of their passengers, that they will self-regulate even without the threat of getting fired after a failed drug test.

And what’s more, the work and pay schedules of some airlines - particularly the commuters, who pay their workers less than Burger King managers and have them work grinding hours - have been demonstrated to be a serious safety problem, one that’s arguably worse than any problem casual drug use could cause.

Ultimately, drug-testing gives people a false sense of security. And false positives regularly cost people time, money, and sometimes even their careers. Most importantly, though, drug testing cuts at the core of our right to privacy. It gets usused to regularly having our privacy - including the privacy of our own bodies - invaded.

It promulgates the false meme that the Fourth Amendment is porous, when in fact it’s very clear in saying that our government has no right to mandate the inspection of your person or papers without getting a warrant first. It also promotes the worst ideas about what it means to be both a drug user and a worker in America.

It promulgates the false meme that drug abuse should be a criminal matter, when in fact it’s a medical matter. And it promulgates the false meme that employers are kings who can do whatever they want to their employees, when in fact employers should be treating their employees with respect.

What you do on the weekends and in the privacy of your own home is your business and your business alone, and no one should be allowed to punish you for it. We need to end all drug testing beyond what is totally voluntary. Let’s make America once again the “Land of the Free.”


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

I would not have to worry about taking drug tests because the last time I ever smoked MJ was several decades ago and I only did it maybe 3 or 4 times then. I have never had a drinking problem and I haven't drank any alcoholic beverage...even beer...for about 5 or 6 years now. I don't smoke or take any tobacco products. I don't eat red meat...ok, ok, I digress...

So, I wouldn't have any problem passing a drug test...unless the tea I drink or occasional coffee can trigger a false positive. But, it is still a violation of my privacy and dignity. It reeks of police-state mentality and corporate control.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago

Palindromedary ~ I'm glad you got a kick out of it. Most of the story can be summed up by synopsis. It's a short book but a fast and interesting read. It's jam packed with tidbits about a very interesting life. Here's some of my favorite parts. A picture of a lake Davies made alone and by hand by strategically constructing a dam. A split level fence around his ranch he also built alone and by hand. Both still exist today. How he was attacked and severely beaten by railroad thugs, stumbled home, got his gun and a bullwhip and returned stopping at every bar along the way to tell his story, then surprised the railway men with a mob of people he met at the bars and escorted them to the bay where he made them disrobe and take a bath at the end of his bullwhip. Stories about numerous assassination attempts by the railroad that he foiled every time. How when the railroad tried to block his ferry boats by using their own to get in their way to slow him down; and, how he successfully rammed and sunk one with his lead ferry "The Rosalie" and ended once and for all that little problem. How the railroad slowed him down in the estuary by delaying the raising of the railroad bridges between Oakland and Alameda and how he solved that problem one day by using "The Rosalie" to pull every draw bridge between the two cities into the bay and destroy them. How he cracked the back of the Central railroad and destroyed the leaders careers and eventually caused the mega giant monopoly to be disbanded and renamed the Central-Pacific Railroad. How he further defeated the Railroad in court and won all 25 miles of Oakland's ports back for the city and the people of Oakland. The rest of the stories seem minor compared to these major accomplishments; however, they do compare to some of the legends about his name sake Davy Crockett; yet, in the big picture even Crockett couldn't hold a candle to John Davies.

If ever you do find the time it won't be wasted reading this autobiography. I hope someday Hollywood has the good sense to make a motion picture about this guy's life. He truly is a real American hero; and, as such, a real inspiration to us all. Thanks for the response.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

DAnnemarc: I read some of those things you mentioned but not in such detail...but, I guess the railroad finally won out because there was a train line that runs right through Jack London Square. I don't know when that line went through..maybe sometime after Davie died? Yes, you paint a very compelling enticement to read his autobiography. I tried to find it on the free on-line books sites but I guess there is still a copyright on the book.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

I've got to sign off early tonight got to get up early in the morning....

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Ms. Metcalfe, thanks for your input. Your experience vividly illustrates the problem, along with the double standards and mind-numbing hypocrisy it embodies. There's simply no way I could ever tolerate such an extreme - and obscene - violation as having some authority figure snoop through my body fluids, just to find evidence of something that's none of their business anyway, that they can still use against me! It is fascism du jour.

Palin, it really doesn't matter whether you get high or not and whether you have to "worry". That is beside the point. Our body fluids are private. The only person who should have the right to examine them is your doctor, for your benefit. Whether or not you have "something to hide", it makes no difference; you're still being violated. This is really about corporate control and police-state fascism, not all that different from a "cavity search". It makes the workplace more like a prison. We really have to ask ourselves, is this how we want to live?!!!

What I find especially sickening about the whole issue is that working people in this country are so disempowered, so desperate to hold onto these crappy bullshit jobs, they'll meekly submit to this abuse year after year without complaint. The more they grow accustomed to being treated like livestock, the more intrenched it becomes as a standard practice. It really is nauseating. To be brutally frank, I view drug testing as a form of rape.

I'll confess, Ms. Metcalfe, I'm more than a little envious of your situation. If I could retire comfortably and securely as you have, I'd be a whole different person; not only happier but (ironically) more productive as well. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:To be brutally frank, I view drug testing as a form of rape.

Aliceinwonderland ~ A most interesting analogy. I guess when you get down to it what difference does it make whether or not you inject or extract bodily fluids without consent? Of course it could be argued that people consent to drug tests. However, it could also be argued that when one's livelihood is at stake the consent has the same willingness as the consent to hand over your wallet when someone aims a gun at your head.

Either case, warrantless search and seizure is still illegal search and seizure and a blatant violation of our right to be secure in our person. I certainly agree that this policy is an attempt to condition the masses to not feel secure in their person and to not resist surrender of their Constitutional rights. "Resistance is futile," as I once heard somewhere...

It certainly sounds like the mantra of a rapist.

"Beam me up, Scotty."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Bull's eye, Marc! To claim that people "consent" to drug tests is not a viable argument when jobs are scarce, you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, and refusal to submit gets you fired. It's coersion, pure and simple. We've strayed so far from these constitutional guidelines, the U.S. Constitution is hardly worth the paper it's printed on anymore. So what comes next; the branding iron?! If we can't be "secure in our person" and must submit to employers and other authority figures snooping through our underwear, then what have we got that can we call our own? Drug testing is one of the more vivid examples I can cite to illustrate why it nauseates me to the core, each time I hear one of these chest-thumping, flag-waving idiots crowing about "freedom" and how "free" we are, and how life here is so much "better" than anywhere else, because it is such a bloody crock. Whenever Ken Ware gets on his soapbox with that bull crap about the U.S. being the "greatest country in the world", I have to ask, by what measure; longevity? (Not.) Education? (Not.) Standard of living? (Not.) Upward mobility? (Not.) Personal freedom? (Not.) Americans have got to be the laughing stock of the world by now. Like ole Jim Morrison once shouted from the stage: "You're all a bunch of slaves!" - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:We've strayed so far from these constitutional guidelines, the U.S. Constitution is hardly worth the paper it's printed on anymore.

Aliceinwonderland ~ I don't know if I would say that. The constitution is one of the greatest documents ever written. It is the law of the land regardless of whether or not it is being enforced; and, as such, is the greatest weapon for We the People to use against the oligarchs who would have us believe otherwise. It will always hold that intrinsic value as long as our government stands and isn't replaced completely by another one. Keep the faith and hold tight to the few things we still got!

PS You also might want to read the Autobiography of John L. Davies. He proves that anything is possible and any giant can be toppled. His story is true and truly legendary.,_the_Buckaroo

My review read post # 54 above.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Jeez... After I say "Bull's eye, Marc!" ya gotta DISAGREE with my subsequent post... How rude! You owe me a thumbs-up, pal... (just kiddin'!). - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: I agree with you 100%. And I thought I indicated similar thoughts about it when I said " But, it is still a violation of my privacy and dignity. It reeks of police-state mentality and corporate control." But you put it so much better than I did.

Jim Morrison also sung..."Come on over to the other side"..and I don't think he was talking about politics...and he has, obviously, practiced what he preached. Loved his songs but I'd rather not go on over to the other side just yet. ;-}

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ One big thumbs up!

Palindromedary ~ I do believe that was "Break on through to the other side." You might want to double check, I might be mistaken because "I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer."

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

DAnnemarc: I never could very much understand the words to music. Nor did I understand the meaning behind them. Oh well. I cede to your better knowledge of the subject.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

"Aliceinwonderland ~ One big thumbs up!" Atta boy, Marc. We're back to a clean slate now.

Palin, your similar thoughts did not escape my notice. As a cannabis connoisseur of long standing, I get pretty emotional about this drug testing thing, despite my own success (or dumb luck) in avoiding it. Guess I was on a roll, ole buddy. My apologies.

By the way Palin, Marc is right; it's "Break on through to the other side".

Jim Morrison always did have this love affair with death. I don't believe he ever intended to leave this world as an old, feeble man. He was much too vain for that.

Yeah, Morrison was immensely talented and a helluva performing artist. Being such a gorgeous, statuesque male specimen never hurts in that line of business. But Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing was my wet dream. An aspiring young keyboard artist myself, I always had this thing for bands with great keyboards. Manzarek's style is so uniquely his own, so brilliant and innovative. In strictly musical terms, Manzarek's keyboards were as prominent to the Doors' sound as Morrison's vocals.

At any rate, I imagine Jim Morrison would've gone ballistic had anyone tried making him pee in a cup. Aside from being the Doors' heartthrob and sex symbol (let alone his great lyric writing and vocals), that guy had the heart of a warrior. I could see ole Jim aiming his golden stream in the face of whoever tried handing him that cup. He was a fighter who knew who the real enemy was (and is). That's what resonates with me about Jim Morrison. In the music buiz of yesteryear, gorgeous looking men were a dime a dozen. Jim Morrison was a political animal through and through, and could smell a fascist a mile away. You can bet that even in heaven, ole Jim's still raising hell... - Alice I.W.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ As a side note on Jim Morrison, I believe it was the differences between himself and his military career father that was behind both his counter culture dedication, and his own death wish. Of course, everything you said about him, Manzarek and the Doors was spot on; however, the way I understand it, it was the conflict of his home life and what was happening to his generation that drove most of his, desires, inspirations, and actions. (I don't think they got along.) Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Nothing to correct, Marc. I remember Morrison's dad having been a military man. I always assumed there'd been issues between Jim and his father that somehow fed into his ferociously anti-authoritarian world view, predating the counter cultural renaissance. I didn't happen to mention this in my post but am well aware of it, without knowing any of the details.

I believe there are genetic factors that help determine the personality and temperament of each one of us. Some are outgoing while others are introverts; a few of us are natural-born leaders while the majority are more inclined to be followers. It all begins with our DNA. A different kid born to the same set of parents as Jim Morrison was could have followed his father's footsteps and become a military man. Those of us who are inclined to question everything are an authoritarian parent's worst nightmare. "Because I said so!" simply doesn't cut it for us. We definitely are not cut out to be soldiers.

I gave my parents quite a run for their money, wild child that I was. I was way harder to raise than my brother. No regrets, though! - Aliceinwonderland

horsetrotter's picture
horsetrotter 9 years 2 weeks ago

I have been in the trucking industry for more than 18 years and I have witnessed the policy of, "Drug Testing", get rid of many people that should not be driving commercial trucks.

sander-viergever's picture
sander-viergever 9 years 2 weeks ago

I agree with the following idea: employers should make an and to put drug test to their (new) employees.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Horsetrotter, if these people should not be driving commercial trucks, it should not be necessary to subject everyone indiscriminately to this harshly invasive practice in order to weed those people out. To suggest otherwise is horse crap. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

"Sander-viergever", your post is barely intelligible. Do you mean to suggest that drug testing be discontinued for new employees, those hired from some arbitrarily-chosen initial date onward, while veteran employees continue being violated randomly, indiscriminately and without prior notice? You find that acceptable? - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: My guess is that Sander-viergever misspelled "and" and should have been "end"
"I agree with the following idea: employers should make an end to put drug test to their (new) employees. "

I think he/she is possibly from the Netherlands and his/her English may not be as accurate as we are accustomed to reading.

So it looks to me like Sander-viergever is saying that he/she agrees that employers should not test employees. But, I suppose that could also be a wrong assumption as well.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

He/she said "new".

Ya know, speaking of language issues (ahem!), it's always griped me that there are no gender-neutral ways to refer to someone where gender is either unknown or irrelevant. This isn't simply a matter of ideological or social shortsightedness. It forces us to either use the cumbersome "he/she", or resort to plural terms such as "they" or "their", which not only is bad grammar but sounds bad. Australians at least have a gender-neutral way of greeting one another as "mate", which I think is pretty cool. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ Sandgiver... lacked common communication skills to state exactly where he/she was coming from. On the other hand I totally reject the opinion of horsetrotter as pure propaganda.

Horsetrotter ~ please show us the irrefutable statistics and spare us the untenable BS.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland: I don't suppose you much like the term "Ms" ...after all males get the term "Mr (mister) whether they are married or not.

Females: Ms or Mrs....Males: Mr or Mr.

But then again, "s" is higher up on the alphabet scale than "r" so that's one better unless one thinks that it is more prestigious to be closer to the letter "a". And speaking of with their heads!;-}

But, you are quite is very cumbersome! Maybe instead of using Mr, Ms or Mrs. we can use "Duh"...May I present Duh Peabody....that should surely keep people guessing the gender..especially if the person is a cross dresser or transvestite. I still can't get my head around Bradley Manning's change to Chelsea without a smirk. But then, I'm evil!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Actually PD, "Ms" suits me fine, because it is equivalent to "Mr"; unaffected by marital status. It's "Miss" I don't much care for. And since these titles are always in reference to one person, it doesn't seem as important that they be gender-neutral. It's when you're entering the realm of plurality that gender specifics get in the way. But I don't think proximity to the letter "A" is of any consequence.

So you suggest "Duh" as a gender-neutral alternative, huh? Wise ass.

Incidentally my friend, t's not for you or me or anyone else to "get our heads around" Bradley Manning's metamorphosis to Chelsea Manning. All we have to do is not make an issue of it. - AIW

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:So you suggest "Duh" as a gender-neutral alternative, huh? Wise ass.

Thank you, Aliceinwonderland! ;-} See my Cheshire grin?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 2 weeks ago

Yeah Palin; a sideways grin, like your head's on a pillow!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

My head will be on a pillow shortly..getting sleepy.

Legend 9 years 2 weeks ago

I have had 150 drug/alcohol tests for my job. All in the USA. Have performed the job many times in 8 other countries and never had a drug/alcohol test. This is one of the less free country in the world.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 9 years 2 weeks ago

Legend: 150 drug/alcohol tests? That's incredible! Do you have a job where the lives of other people would possibly be in danger if you made a mistake? an airline pilot? You don't happen to work as a lab rat at someplace like United States Drug Testing Laboratories do you?;-}

Joseph Jaroszewski's picture
Joseph Jaroszewski 8 years 43 weeks ago

It’s Time to End All Drug Testing

In his blog, Mr Hartmann makes the assertion that drug testing should be done away with “There is little proof that drug tests do anything other than make testing companies rich”. If Mr Hartmann is trying to make the point that drug testing is ineffective he does it rather poorly. Mr Hartmann further implies that it is not possible for a workplace to come up with a reasonable testing regime – again he is wrong.

Mr Hartmann states “What you do on the weekends and in the privacy of your own home is your business and your business alone…” I sometimes get this comment from workers that I ask to undertake a drug test. My counter is usually along the lines of “Well if you can show up here clear of any substances taken in your time – you’re gonna be fine and have nothing to worry about.” Mr Hartmann also later states “Most importantly, though, drug testing cuts at the core of our right to privacy”

I seem to recall a risqué comedian telling story about a girl informing her boyfriend that she was “a little bit pregnant”. This presumably humorous line resonates with me in relation to talk around privacy, to be more specific - breaches of privacy. Is there no such thing as a small breach of privacy or can we willingly give up our right to privacy in certain situations?

Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights gives people the protection from “arbitrary interference with their privacy…” (United Nations, 1948). This raises the question, is my workplace drug testing policy an arbitrary intrusion or is it part of a coherent policy that workers understand and are aware of when signing up to work for us? Are employers making an unethical intrusion into a person’s privacy? The word “arbitrary” is of interest in this discussion – and are there circumstances whereby a person is happy to divulge extra information about themselves?

Ethical theory would consider where is the greater good? Kantian theory would apply it’s “universal law” approach. Would it be alright if breaches of privacy were the universal law? I would suggest not. Kant has at the heart of his theory the issue of treating people as the ends – not the means to an end. Essentially meaning we can’t simply trample over people to achieve our goals.

Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. I take security of person to include the safety from physical harm. The New Zealand Human Rights Commission confirms this point when they state, “The right to security of the person protects physical integrity, which has traditionally taken the narrow focus of protection from direct physical trauma.” (New Zealand Human Rights Commission),

So while privacy is important, I believe there is a greater consideration here. I believe the right to be physically safe is the greater good.

When discussing drug testing with my plant manager, we go over the point of our testing – we are testing for impairment. We want to know if a worker is putting themselves and their workmates at risk. I believe it’s easy to make an argument for a drug testing program in a safety sensitive environment – but who can define a workplace that is not safety sensitive? Is a school a non safety sensitive workplace? Is a retail store a non safety sensitive workplace?

In the case of The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) vs Air New Zealand (2004), the EPMU had a victory against widespread drug testing, limiting Air New Zealand to testing workers in safety sensitive areas. Law firm Simpson Grierson make the point, “Among the main points upheld the court ruled ‘Privacy Act 1993 principles will be a useful guideline in determining the reasonableness of a drug and alcohol policy, so far as issues of privacy are concerned...Work in 'safety-sensitive' areas will also affect the reasonableness of the policy” (Simpson Grierson, 2008).

One of the points Mr Hartmann fails to illuminate is that of the non drug-taking majority. The vast majority of workers actually pass their drug tests without any concerns and will partake in our testing programme without hesitation. These are the workers that tell me how pleased they are that we have are striving to keep the plant drug free and that they feel safer knowing the guy or girl next them is not high.

I believe a well considered substance abuse policy should include.

  • Worker engagement when writing the policy.
  • Awareness for new applicants that there is a testing programme in place.
  • That worker’s still have the right to refuse testing.
  • Should a worker fail there is a pathway through rehabilitation and a return to work is possible.
  • The policy seeks to test for impairment so recent intoxication is the key target.
  • Applied consistently, fairly and uphold New Zealand privacy principles.

What we need to do away with is drug testing that breaches privacy principles, is based on a poor company policy and that is poorly applied in the workplace. A well constructed and written policy that is fairly applied is a great tool in achieving a safe workplace.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 40 weeks ago

MISTER Jaroszewski, you are full of crap. You assholes think just because someone's working for you or under you, it entitles you to know what that person does on AND off the job, thus giving you control over employees' behavior and personal habits. None of your goddam business!

Your employees are not your personal property. Last I heard, slavery has officially been over in this country, since right after the Civil War. You speak in general terms about "drugs" when in fact, the ONLY drug that stays in one's system longer than a day or two is marijuana. One can test positive for THC weeks after that last toke. Which means these tests give absolutely no proof whatsoever that someone is high on the job. It also means pee tests are designed to target pot smokers in particular.

You don't need to examine employees' urine just to determine whether they're "putting themselves and their workmates at risk". That's hogwash, Mr. J. It isn't about safety; it's about CONTROL and INTIMIDATION. Your old safety argument just doesn't hold up, because most jobs drug test nowadays regardless of occupation. I'd bet $$ even Walmart greeters get pee tested, and cashiers at Staples.

After doing some research, Mr. Hartmann was able to conclude that in the history of air travel, there has never been a case of an airliner crashing due to a pilot stoned on the job. Given the crazy, ever-changing schedules and long hours pilots are subjected to, sleep deprivation is what we should be concerned about! Not marijuana.

Long as they're performing their duties satisfactorily, while showing no outward sign of impairment; long as you've no grounds for suspicion, you can leave employees the fuck alone. But you control freaks will never stop harassing people without provocation, sticking your noses where they don't belong…

So what comes next, Mr. J, the branding iron?! It's because of assholes like you that I've been self-employed all my life. I could not tolerate you fascist pigs inspecting me and my colleagues like livestock, looking inside our bodies for something you can then use against us, as if our lives off the job and our personal habits were anything you should be concerned about. I would never allow myself to be violated like that, subjected to something so invasive and degrading.

You're damn right drug tests are making someone rich! For a test that costs ten cents to make, it's thirty bucks a pop, just so these companies can scrutinize employees' private lives! Wowie-zowie. Sure is a lot of money being made off prohibition! And that's just one example out of many to illustrate who profits from this ugly racket.

Money-money-money! Money and power, whuddia know.

I repeat: if they're doing their jobs satisfactorily, you've nothing to be concerned about. Yet you preface your argument by saying "Well if you can show up here clear of any substances taken in your time – you’re gonna be fine and have nothing to worry about.” The key phrase, of course, being "in your time". Meaning his time, you pig. So what's it to ya? Just where do you get off, threatening people like this?!

Please explain how your habit of prying into the contents of your employees' bladders is just a "small breach of privacy" as opposed to a major breach of privacy, and why we should be willing to give up our physical integrity, freedom and autonomy in "certain situations". You mean "certain situations" like the jobs most adults must do each day, that they depend on to support themselves and their families? Aren't these the "certain" situations you speak of, Mister Jaroszewski?

You ask if your drug testing policy is an "arbitrary intrusion" (Bingo!) or a "coherent policy" that workers "understand and are aware of" when they are hired. I hate answering a question with more questions, but in this instance I must. First of all, how is this not arbitrary when one is showing up on time and performing one's duties as required? And please enlighten me to what is "coherent" about the logic and/or rationale behind such a policy.

If there's one thing we can agree on, Mr. J, it's the "A" word. As you've stated, the word "arbitrary" is key. Indeed. It's one of those words that stands out, from the very heart of this issue. But what gets me is your next phrase, where you ask if there are "circumstances whereby a person is happy [ - 'happy'?!!! - ] to divulge extra information about themselves?" Are you serious?! Why should I - or anyone, for that matter - be "happy" about "divulging" to you (as my employer, not my doctor!!) the contents of my fucking bladder?! Especially when the information I'm "divulging" enables you to control my private life, or any aspect of my private life, off the job. Because everyone is ENTITLED to a life. We work so that we can live. The time we spend off the job is what we're working for. It's a slice of life that is ours and ours alone. I don't know how to put it in plainer English than that.

"Where is the greater good?" you ask rhetorically. How about telling me what that is, big shot, just for our collective entertainment! But no; instead of clarifying exactly what that means here, you coyly toss out some vaguely worded drivel about "ethical theory", "Kantian theory" and "universal law". Kinda reminds me of a quote I once saw, taped on this lady's fridge, that went something like: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, confound them with bullshit." Because this is one piece of work you've posted here Mr. J. You then toss out another rhetorical question: "Would it be alright if breaches of privacy were the universal law?" What I find so fascinating here is what follows: "I would suggest not." After four paragraphs of you arguing in defense of drug tests on employees, performed arbitrarily and randomly, you suddenly do this about-face and describe some other theory by this dude named Kant, who came up with this radical, crazy idea that human beings should be the end rather than the means to an end. (Someone else's end, like yours Mr. J.)

So then you flip-flop back again, onto your authoritarian little soapbox, declaring: "while privacy is important, I believe there is a greater consideration here." and "I believe the right to be physically safe is the greater good." How convenient for you, asshole. So tell me, what should be more important to ME than MY RIGHT to (1) decide who I'll submit my urine to, and where and when; (2) my freedom and privacy off the job; and (3) my right, as a human being, to simply have a life?

I hate to pop your bubble sir, but the "security of person" referred to in Article 3 of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not limited to "safety from physical harm" like New Zealand's version. It's about personal boundaries, about not being violated; not being forced to submit to arbitrary, random, humiliating inspections where even the most private functions of our bodies are fair game. I'd rather be dead than have to live under a microscope 24-7, subjected to the constant, relentless scrutiny of some self-serving goddam employer! What is it about "physical integrity" you don't understand, Mr. J? Again I ask, what makes you think writing someone's paycheck entitles you to control over that person's entire life off as well as on the job? Because when you control someone's life on and off the job, what it basically means is that you are controlling EVERYTHING in that person's life.

Now we face the prospect of employers dictating to the women on their payrolls whether or not they are allowed access to birth control!! Where does it END?!!!!!!!

Your subordinates subject themselves to these abusive inspections without complaining because they have no choice, sir. Jobs are so scarce nowadays. People have to eat and pay their bills. Many live paycheck-to-paycheck, just one months' unemployment away from homelessness. They submit to these degrading rituals under the threat of termination. Talk about coercion! Some might even allow themselves to be brainwashed into thinking you're actually doing them a favor. I'm sure your brainwashed, more submissive subordinates come in real handy while workers "engage" in the writing of your company's drug testing policy. As for the rest of 'em, you don't know what's going through their minds when they pee in your little cup Mr. J. But if technological advances ever offer a means by which employers can spy on workers' thoughts as well as their bodily fluids, I'm sure you'll be among the first in line to get ahold of it. Asshole.

So what happens when workers refuse to submit to these tests? They're fired, right? They're free to be unemployed and back to pounding the pavement, to facing the prospect of homelessness once more.

Did you know someone can "fail" a pee test just by eating poppy seeds on a bagel? So much for obligatory "rehabilitation" for drug "abusers".

Recent intoxication off the job is not synonymous with impairment on the job. I'll say it again: the former is none of your business; only the latter need be your concern.

How does ANY drug testing NOT breach privacy "principles"? What "principles"?! You authoritarian fucking assholes are so full of it. You just keep on confounding 'em with your bullshit. But you're not fooling all of us. It's not a "safe" workplace you're after; it's an AUTHORITARIAN one.

Do you happen to live in New Zealand, by the way? Whether you do or not, Jaroszewski, I'd like you also to explain to us why American workers should give a flippin' damn about New Zealand's so-called "privacy principles". Who the fuck cares? - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 8 years 40 weeks ago

Joseph Jaroszewski ~ There is a giant hole in your fascist logic that you could drive a boeing 747 through. Legal psychotropic drugs that are legally prescribed for everything from depression to insomnia. You don't test for these drugs and they are usually used 24/7 by the people who use them. They can contribute to everything from suicidal tendencies to homicidal tendencies. Yet all you are interested in is catching recreational pot users. Personally, that is fine with me. It's your company. You make the rules. Let the market decide whether or not that is a good idea.

You should also be aware--if you're not already--that there are a lot of other companies--some of which you might compete with--who might just not drug test. Doesn't that thought scare you at all? That means that pot smokers--especially those who are strong minded enough to object to your invasive policies--might prefer working for someone who respects their human dignity and privacy over you. If they are that strong minded they are also probably a lot smarter than anyone who would apply to work with you. Scared yet? How about this. Because they found an employer who trusts and respects them they might also be more loyal to that employer than your employees are to you. They might just accept less pay then your employees. They might even volunteer to work extra time for free. Certainly the last thing they would want is for their company to go under and have to change their lifestyle just so they could work for you. Finally, they might just work a lot harder than anyone who would want to work for you would ever dream of doing. That--coupled with all the money that company is going to save from those rip off drug tests--is going to put their bottom line way ahead of yours. Are you scared yet? You should be!

Well if not, fine and dandy! Maybe when you are applying for bankruptcy, or signing over your company for a leverage buyout to a competitor, you can ask yourself where you screwed up.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 8 years 40 weeks ago

Bravo Marc! I concur. - AIW

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.

From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist