Oregon employers warn that the state has run out of workers who can pass a drug test

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/06/01/portlandia-as-documentary.html


Just being in Eugene gives me a contact high


I’ve always thought drug tests were invasive and an overreach on the part of employers, especially now that drug laws are changing.

Alcohol can be just as detrimental to a person’s work ethic and life as irresponsible drug use, but it’s understood that most people can regulate their consumption and behavior, and a given that testing for it would be absurd.


There’s just anecdotal evidence in this article. And basically, it’s all excuses for the current job market. Unemployment here is insanely low, which means that workers have more of a choice in their employer. This is a shift from a few years when people had no real choice in their employment, and some businesses are upset over the shift because now they have to offer those things called benefits and fair wages to attract workers.

I had a conversation with a local Portland manager, and she brought up a job opening that she couldn’t fill. It required a Master of Social Work degree, paid between $14-16 an hour, and offered no supervision. They also drug screen for everything. Ain’t no body going to take that job. I have seasonal workers with me for $17 an hour, only require a GED, and no drug test at all. All my slots are filled.


Test everyone to see if they’ve had a drink in the last week and see how that shrinks your hiring pool.


My God! It’s brilliant!

1: Legalize one drug. Just the most innocuous one, nothing serious.
2: Continue drug testing as a gatekeeper to government jobs.
3: Government you can drown in a bathtub… courtesy of Democrats?


And how is that? What are the economic and societal problems caused by legal recreational or medical marijuana use?

Time to find an insurer that will let you do business. Oregonian investors, here is an unfulfilled market niche with which you can become stupidly rich.

edit to add: Drug testing policies invariably impact your lowest paid workers. White collar workers are rarely subjected to screenings and are the bulk of your hard abusers. It’s time to question the legitimacy of testing for use rather than testing for intoxication.


You are kidding me; pay is 14-16/hour, and requires a masters degree ?!?!? No wonder it’s not filled; that wouldn’t offset the cost of getting the degree in the first place.


I tend to agree, however, I have been in jobs (and hired for jobs) that require rather intense focus, handling of hazardous materials that do not forgive should the employee not pay attention to what they are doing, or get zoned out by drug use. I do not require drug testing before hire.
It is understood that people must regulate their use, but if there is an accident on the job, the first thing I require is a drug test (after I make sure they are going to be OK). My worker comp insurer is pushing me to require testing as a prerequisite, but I have managed to resist it so far by pointing to my spotless safety record.
Alcohol is easy to detect due to its smell and effects. All employees know that if caught on the job, they will no longer have that position.


Masters in Social Work.

Social workers make less than teachers. We certainly don’t value the cogs of the system.


I knew someone would bring this type of job up, and I do agree that the stakes are higher and that it’s a little less clear cut.

But substances linger in the system. What sort of drug test do you require?

A regular urine test wil indicate past drug use, but can’t really confirm that the person was high at the time.


I think you’re underestimating how hard some data-gathering could be in the era before ubiquitous desktop computers, and 1990 is definitely in that era.

It can be typical IF you’re getting good supervision, which can lead to license, which can lead to better pay. I went the “nontraditional” social work route and skipped straight to better pay and the ability to say No to people.


Do they test if people get enough sleep? Or whether someone is currently impaired? That seems a lot more important than testing if someone has used pot in the last month, or been near enough pot smokers to result in a detectable amount of pot.

I read once about an ambulance company that made employees do some sort of cognitive or reaction test before each shift - sounds like a PIA, but much more relevant than drug tests which test for residual amounts rather than impairment.


Here’s a shocking proposal that will blow everyone’s mind. How about hiring someone who is qualified, and if they show up to work stoned or intoxicated, fire them. You know, making your hiring and retention decisions based on experience, references, and job performance. I know, it’s insane. But I’m a lunatic, what can I say?


I’m drowning in a bathtub, right now.


We do 24 hour post incident that covers - Marijuana metabolites / THC, Cocaine metabolites, Opiates (including codine, heroine, morphine, Amphetamines (including methamphetamine, MDMA), Phencyclidine (PCP). This is done either at a hospital or through a certified testing lab. Either way, it is determined by a medical doctor, not by the company. Subsequent interviews with the person and work history would determine any course of action the company decides to take.
Incidentally, my folks make an average of $55-60K plus benefits per year. Average service time right now is 6 years. A GED is helpful, but as long as they can read, write, and do some basic math, I don’t care.

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While you shouldn’t be drinking or doing weed on the job, at this point in the game, how is it their fucking business what you do on off hours?


I understand that what you are doing is standard, and it sounds like you are up front about it and treat your employees well.

I think 24 hour tests are a bit of a blunt tool, but it’s the best tool you have to work with.

Still, whatever happened the night before shouldn’t be a consideration in investigating an accident the following day.

A person who stays up all night gaming is also impairing themselves, but they won’t lose their job because of it.


(Granted, no degree required, but I thought of this anyway)