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Re: Drug Screening Jay_Bravest_Face

Posted by Racer on August 31, 2008, at 10:30:40

In reply to Re: Drug Screening Racer, posted by Jay_Bravest_Face on August 31, 2008, at 9:25:32

> I find this so odd, like ... the rest sound like the U.S. is overstepping people's civil liberties. Here in Canada, our Supreme Court has upheld our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and hasn't allowed drug-testing for many jobs.

Well, Jay, I guess we do live in different countries, huh? While the picture you paint of Canada sounds remarkably close to paradisaical, others I know up there -- including two I know only from Babble and their reports of trying to get medical or psychiatric treatment up there -- have quite a differing view.

Equally, the view you seem to present of the US doesn't seem to describe the country I live in -- only the sort of view one might get of us from a single source, especially onewhich really only presents the side of the issue which sounds kinda like 'the employer's rights always and appropriately trump individual rights.' I'm not saying that you are trying to communicate this sort of message -- only letting you know that reading it often sounds that way to at least one reader. Maybe knowing how it's sometimes interpreted by someone down here will help you -- like the Burns poem?

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!"

The United States of America is made up of the same myriad shades of political views as the rest of the world. Our country is quite large, and quite varied -- in many cases, individual cities are larger than entire European countries. That being the case, in many ways our identity if far better represented by the first part of our formal name -- The United States. Canada is similar in that respect, especially the English and French splits, but I don't think it's quite so pronounced overall. Heck, Jay -- people from Georgia will often be insulted if they're mistaken for being from North Carolina! Homogeneity is not something which can be assumed, in any area, is what I'm trying to say here.

And I'm really not the sort of person with the sort of patriotism best expressed by the phrase, "My Country -- Right or Wrong!" There are times when I am downright ashamed to admit I'm an American -- but I am, it is part of my identity, and I see much to admire in the evolution of the experimental republic named The United States of America. And please remember -- I was uninsured, and received sub-adequate mental health care that did a lot of damage to me. I have experienced, first hand, some of this country's deficits.

As for drug testing, the issue goes back and forth -- on the one hand, the courts have been reasonable about testing employees: random testing is a violation of individual rights. Testing for cause is a different story -- and there are few employers who would go to the trouble and expense of testing an employee for cause unless that cause was related to job performance impairment. It's not that the testing costs so much and is some complex and time consuming -- it's because there an awful lot of employees out there who are fully aware of the probability that they'd prevail if they challenged their employer's request for a urine sample, and an equal number of attorneys whose mouths water at the chance to remind the world that our legal system is based on a constitution created by some very clever guys, guys we're pretty proud of.

Pre-employment screening is another matter, though. At that point, there are a few things employers can't ask directly -- "how old are you?" "Are you planning to have children?" (There's a joke about that last one -- you're not even allowed to ask that question to a woman who's eight months along. Funny, silly -- and true. It's considered discriminatory, and I do get satisfaction when our anti-discrimination rules don't allow for the thin end of the wedge, even if it sometimes sounds silly.) Some employers choose to use drug screening as part of their pre-employment screening. Some have probably discovered that their hiring managers have a poor track record when it comes to screening out people who bring their substance abuse problems to their work. Some are just trying to find ways to standardize their hiring process to the point a blood test would one day suffice as a resume; often those are large employers, with a range of lower wage/lower skilled jobs. Jobs that often hire high school/college age students. Other employers -- most notably those down-stream from government contracts -- have to require such testing as part of those contracts. Ideally, that wouldn't be a good enough reason to require testing, employers would defend the rights of their employees against all comers -- at least, that's part of my belief system.

It's also not realistic in our current economic and political climate.

I'm sorry this is so long, Jay, but I don't think you mean to offend with posts like this -- at least I hope and trust you don't -- and wanted to let you know that at least one person's interpretation of some of your posts could lead to feeling kinda offended. Kinda like telling someone about an open zipper -- someone might figure it out, but there's some embarrassment involved that could be avoided pretty easily if someone had offered a head's up about it, you know?

Peace, Jay. I haven't been many places in Canada, but those places were all lovely.




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