Employers Are Rethinking Workplace Drug Tests to Fill Jobs

As more and more states begin legalizing marijuana, workplace rules that force employees to take drug tests are becoming problematic. Why should people be punished for engaging in a perfectly legal activity in their free time if it doesn't affect their job performance? Well it turns out many businesses are feeling the same way.

The Society for Human Resource Management recently published an article that discussed how many employers are rethinking their policies surrounding drug tests. Not only is marijuana legalization a cause, but also an improving job market and low employment rates mean many businesses are finding it difficult to discover qualified applicants. And adding in drug tests mean employers are adding yet another barrier to finding quality workers.

The SHRM noted that the number of job applicants who test positive for drugs has increased in recent years, from 3.8 percent in 2013 to 4.4 percent in 2016. Overall, they found that five percent of the general workforce in the United States tested positive for at least one drug in 2016. These statistics are leading many employers to begin rethinking their policies.

The article noted that different jobs will institute different policies in the coming years. Businesses in legalized states will probably begin ignoring positive marijuana tests, while still taking action if employees use harder drugs. And jobs where safety is an issue and requires employees to be 100 percent clear of mind will still continue enforcing strict anti-drug policies to ensure no one is hurt. But if someone's just filing papers, it's probably not a big deal that they smoke a joint on the weekend.

It's not clear how many employers have changed their policies, but according to the SHRM may are having that conversation.

But it's still probably best if you try not to beat the test. How would you be able to afford marijuana without a job, right?

(h/t SHRM)

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