Re: In Reference to Drug Testing

Subject: Re: In Reference to Drug Testing
From: "Jane S." <judydh -at- total -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 2000 19:31:39 -0400

Recently, I was asked to sign a single-paragraph blanket permission to check
my personal and professional references, criminal record, driving record,
credit and "consumer report" record (e.g. what I have bought with a credit
or debit card), and drug test (no list of substances), and that they could
require and do them without prior permission any time in the future if you
were employed. You could see your results, but I'm sure only if you were

I kicked up a fuss. I used the dumb-Canadian schtick andsaid "we don't do
that up there; I kinda wanna know why it's done here?" They said that they
don't necessarily do each test for each type of job, but they had to get
authorization all the same. So I took out a handy little black pen, drew a
line through each item that was particularly objectional (which meant
everything except references), and signed the application. We discussed it
some more, and I said that if they were going to check all those things, I
wanted a separate document for each one with more information about what the
check entailed and how they would be accountable to me about the results.

After a week, they got back to me and told me that technical writers are not
subjected to credit and consumer reports and drug tests. That was all I
wanted to know, no matter that I probably totalled two rental cars only a
few weeks prior (fault wasn't determined but usually the left-turn driver
gets it), they certainly aren't going to refuse employment for that (so long
as your license isn't revoked and it is imperative for the job).

So I signed and off it went. Negotiations continued without a hitch from
this angle. I'm sure I raised a few eyebrows, but it is fair play--if they
are going to require all that information and verification of you, they
ought to justify it to the letter, including paranoiac or partisan reasons,
all in the name of transparency.

I think this climate is all the fault of insurance companies though Nancy
Reagan probably deserves a spanking, too.

I think that people on this list are right to try to make others think about
the principle of the issue. If you really must submit, at least quietly
protest--eat tons of poppy seeds, take Tylenol 3's "to get to sleep", and
then zap your system with Vitamin B3. And write your congressman or, to be
proactive (since Canadians always follow suite) member of parliament with
your reasons for making it as illegal as asking marital status or sexual


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