Governor LePage and Republican lawmakers in Augusta want to push forward on drug-testing for welfare benefits. If the policy makes it through the rule-making process, then it would require drug-testing for convicted felons before they could receive benefits.
The survey solicited the input of Maine businesses and other organizations regarding the current statute governing employee-testing for alcohol and drug use in the workplace. Maine law currently requires employers that want to test applicants and employees for substance use to develop and file a drug-testing policy with the Bureau of Labor Standards.
The department solicited participation in the survey from all employers with approved drug-testing policies, insurance providers and organizations with a relationship to the issue, including medical marijuana organizations and providers, as well as other businesses and interested parties. As a result, 247 organizations responded to the survey.
Eighty-five percent of those businesses that were surveyed have never experienced any kind of drug-related incident in their workplaces.
Sixty-five percent of those surveyed indicated that despite never experiencing a drug-related incident they expected to have one at some point in the future.
In other words, drug-related incidents at work are rare, but the fear of drugged-up employees causing trouble is rampant. Make sense to you?
The survey contained a handful of questions on medical marijuana and drug-testing. Again, most employers, in fact almost all of them, ninety-percent, indicated that they have had no situations at their workplaces involving “misunderstandings or confusion” about medical or otherwise legalized marijuana use and drug-testing.
From the looks of it, workers are not getting stoned and killing each other with forklifts. It is just not happening, or at least not at any kind of epidemic rate.
Workplace injuries and fatalities are serious and should never happen. Workers should not be operating heavy machinery while under the influence. Nor should impaired workers be allowed to create an abusive or hostile workplace.
But, should everyone live in fear of having their privacy invaded by their boss, or their government? Should drug-testing become the norm, so that the government can supposedly save money by denying benefits, and businesses can avoid accidents and other workplace incidents?
Why are employers afraid? Is it the fear-mongering of the state government? For instance, why did the Department of Labor release this survey at a time when the state is looking into more drug-testing themselves?
The state is creating a problem where there is none. There is a desire from policymakers in Augusta to enact more drug-testing both of welfare recipients and of the general workforce.
Better believe some drug-testing companies are going to make a bundle in the years ahead.
Maybe instead of fearing the boogie-man, Maine employers and the state should stay away from people’s urine. There are bigger problems, that are both real and widespread, to tackle.