RE: In Reference to Drug Testing

Subject: RE: In Reference to Drug Testing
From: Janet Valade <janetv -at- systech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 09:21:59 -0700

> IMHO, an employer who asks you to submit to a drug test as a condition of
> employment is not violating your rights, since you clearly have the option
> to refuse. Yes, you'd probably lose the job, but it's not that different
> from other conditions of employment, such as a dress code or mandatory
> overtime or even, God forbid, a writing test, that could also result in
> the loss of your job if you decline. I agree that it's distasteful, but I
> don't think it's a violation of your civil rights. Unless they test for
> something other than the particular substances they inform you they're
> testing for, of course.
It is easy for us to see it this way. We are professionals in the
high-tech field where we are in great demand. Refusing has no "real"
consequences. We can find another job in a minute. However, this is not the
case in many other fields, where there are many more applicants than jobs.
In these cases, there is no "actual" choice. It feels like blackmail to me.

Fortunately, the law will uphold our rights, even when people are
desperate enough to give them away. Courts often nullify a contract if its
conditions are illegal. Even if an employee agrees to work for less than
minimum wage, companies are not allowed to take advantage of the applicant's
desperation. They must pay minimum wage. I know that drug testing is allowed
legally. I simply disagree with that ruling. I am sure the courts would not
allow companies to demand a search of your house as a condition of being
hired. I can't, then, understand why the law sees a search of your
bloodstream as okay. I do not see it as okay and will not allow it.
Fortunately, in our field, I will probably not have to pay any serious
consequences for my stand on principle. There are lots of jobs available.


Janet Valade
Technical Writer
Systech Corporation, San Diego, CA
mailto:janetv -at- systech -dot- com

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