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Drugs and the workplace
Old 01-08-2009, 03:56 PM   #1
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Drugs and the workplace

Today I received a call from a very close friend of mine. He was going to have to take a drug test at work and he knows for certain that he will not pass. After some discussion, he realized his only alternative is to resign.

He has worked at the company for 25 years...this is the only job he has ever had. Five more years of service would have entitled him to be able to retire at 51 with numerous benefits. That won't be happening now.

I just wanted to post this and remind folks to always think twice. Sometimes the consequences are too great.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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He should talk to his kids. A young relative has all kinds of stories about urine cleansing kits; clean urine,fake member scheme kits; things you allege to have eaten to delay the test or contest the results (poppy seed muffins come to mind), etc. ad nauseum.

I agree with you. consequences. young relative would be way ahead if an equal amount of effort was spent productively - another young relative was going to join the Navy, which would have been good for him - just found out they declined his application due to convictions as a minor for drug offences.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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I think it's a shame that he made poor decisions that have put him in this position. If he resigns, won't he lose any right to unemployment insurance, etc.? Is there any way he could delay the test (you know, for *medical* reasons)? Seems like he might be panicked and not thinking this through...
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:27 PM   #4
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I think it's a shame that he made poor decisions that have put him in this position. If he resigns, won't he lose any right to unemployment insurance, etc.? Is there any way he could delay the test (you know, for *medical* reasons)? Seems like he might be panicked and not thinking this through...
Yes, I agree it is a shame. Hopefully when we make mistakes, we learn from them.

Without going into too much detail, the co he works for was sending him out to do work for a customer that requires drug testing. He would have to be tested within a week. He had no choice about the job assignment. We talked about different avenues, but this was the best alternative. Unfortunately, this very complicated.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:31 PM   #5
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What about taking a personal leave of absence.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:32 PM   #6
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Difficult issue. If he is in a position where drug use puts others in danger it might be better he is caught before he hurts someone.

Do they really fire him after the first test?

I'd suggest speaking with a lawyer who specializes in these issues before doing anything.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:38 PM   #7
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Slip, trip, fall and sprain his back for 30 days?
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:40 PM   #8
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If he's gonna be gone anyway, why not get clean for a while and play hooky from work in the meantime? What's the worst they can do, fire him?
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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Yes, he would get fired after a failed drug test. There is zero tolerance. He does not want them to know that he can't pass the test. If he took a leave of absence, he would have to be out for quite a while because drugs stay in hair follicles for a long time. He would have to make up a story about his absence; he doesn't want to do that. More than likely, his job would not be there when he went back. This co, like others are doing everything they can to cut headcount.

He would rather resign than get fired. This is another choice he has made.

I do want to thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. In this complicated case, he has made up his mind.

Perhaps this thread will help someone else that faces this type of situation...or keep them from getting there in the first place....
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Old 01-08-2009, 05:37 PM   #10
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Yes, he would get fired after a failed drug test. There is zero tolerance. He does not want them to know that he can't pass the test. If he took a leave of absence, he would have to be out for quite a while because drugs stay in hair follicles for a long time. He would have to make up a story about his absence; he doesn't want to do that. More than likely, his job would not be there when he went back. This co, like others are doing everything they can to cut headcount.

He would rather resign than get fired. This is another choice he has made.

I do want to thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions. In this complicated case, he has made up his mind.

Perhaps these suggestions will help someone else that faces this type of situation...or keeps them from getting there in the first place....
Well, I guess that answers my question. If the test was a urine test and he only uses occasionaly, it may be out of his system in 72 hours. If they use a hair follicle test he's pretty well screwed. My employer requires a hair follicle test prior to employment but only a urine test thereafter. We also have a zero tolerance policy. Alcohol is included as well. Over .02 and your gone.
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:14 PM   #11
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If it is a hair folicle test, how about shaving; using Nair to take all the hair off his body?
Shaved heads are in - mine is and a shaved/waxed body isn't new - it is a personal thing - eyebrows and nose hairs could be an issue. But if you are going to get fired anyway what does he have to lose?
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Old 01-08-2009, 06:30 PM   #12
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If it is a hair folicle test, how about shaving; using Nair to take all the hair off his body?
Shaved heads are in - mine is and a shaved/waxed body isn't new - it is a personal thing - eyebrows and nose hairs could be an issue. But if you are going to get fired anyway what does he have to lose?
When I had my hair follicle test, they had to take the hair from my legs because that's where it was longest. Not sure what they would've done if i'd shaved my legs. They probably wouldn't've hired me if I couldn't take the test.
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Old 01-08-2009, 07:15 PM   #13
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Just curious bbbamI about what kind of drugs he has used. IMHO, there is a big difference between smoking some pot and using cocaine or heroin. Many moons ago, when I was in college, I did a research paper about drugs in the workplace. Going into the project I was all for drug testing. However, once learning more, I questioned using this in all work situations. In any event, I hope your friend ends up OK. If he's a friend of yours I think he must be an decent sort of person even if he isn't perfect. Who among us can claim perfection after all?
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:05 PM   #14
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Just curious bbbamI about what kind of drugs he has used. IMHO, there is a big difference between smoking some pot and using cocaine or heroin. Many moons ago, when I was in college, I did a research paper about drugs in the workplace. Going into the project I was all for drug testing. However, once learning more, I questioned using this in all work situations.
I'm quite certain it's pot and nothing else.
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In any event, I hope your friend ends up OK. If he's a friend of yours I think he must be an decent sort of person even if he isn't perfect.
Thanks Purron.
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Who among us can claim perfection after all?
Certainly not me. I've made more than my fair share of mistakes....
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:57 PM   #15
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It certainly is a sad reality. But it happens. We had a guy at work who became a menace to the other employees, and the general public, because of his drug use. It started as an occasional doobie on weekends, but gradually grew to pill popping, and eventually playing with crack. One day he a very minor fender bender while driving one of the department vehicles....the biggest, heaviest vehicle in the fleet (in the neighborhood of about 20 tons). No serious damage to either vehicle....paint scrape on the other car's bumper (an older model car with lots of dings and scrapes), and there were no injuries at all. He filled out a police report, and talked the other crew member to keep it under his hat.

This guy was gradually becoming worse and worse, and he needed to get help for his addiction...both to help himself and also for the safety of those around him. I got wind of his fender bender, and, going totally against my grain, I had to 'rat him out'.....never would have even considered it if it hadn't been for the safety issue. I slipped the boss a note, along with some daily paperwork, and made sure he saw it and then shredded it. The boss made and received a few of phone calls around that same time, so no one ever was able to figure out how he found out...they all think it was one of the phone calls. He did contact the PD, and had them fax a copy of the accident report over to him.

When 'crash' returned to the shop, the boss asked about the mishap. The guy nervously explained what happened, and then he was informed that he'd have to take a mandatory drug test....standard written procedure required after all accidents. Since the guy was sure he'd fail the test, he tried quit on the spot, but because he refused the drug test, he was instead fired.

Our employer had always gone out of their way to offer counseling and/or treatment for cases such as this, but the guy refused to ask for the help. He was a good guy and good worker, and a hard worker, but he had become a dangerous worker. We had hoped that he'd plead his case, and ask for treatment and a 2nd chance. I went to his house several times to try to talk him into asking for the 2nd chance, but he preferred to keep the dope, and lose the job. That was about 4 years ago......he panhandles and steals to support his habit. Sad!

That was a fairly extreme case, and not nearly as mild as your friend's case. Maybe some outside support or counseling could help....I'm sure your friend is kicking himself for what's happening, and talking to counselor might help him pick up the pieces and move forward.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:35 AM   #16
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If it is a hair folicle test, how about shaving; using Nair to take all the hair off his body?
Shaved heads are in - mine is and a shaved/waxed body isn't new - it is a personal thing - eyebrows and nose hairs could be an issue. But if you are going to get fired anyway what does he have to lose?
I could always say he's taken up swimming. I had to remove all my body hair before swimmeets to have any chance of winning.

Are you sure the test is a hair folicle test? He could always claim a sick kid, dying relative he has to care for, or catching that nasty flu that's been going around, knocked me out for two weeks. I'm sure at 46 he's got to have some relative that could use his help for a month or two. They are legally required to hold your job for you due to the Family Medical Leave Act.

What type of company is it he has to go to that requires a drug test for third parties? Maybe there is a reason he can object to working for them due to ethical concerns or some conflict of interest.

At the very least he could lose his temper and shout at the company president and over turn a couple desks and get fired that way. Then he at least gets unemployment while looking for a new job.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:02 AM   #17
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I knew a guy who hired his brother-in-law as a contract employee but wanted to get him a permanent job with mega-corp. He was pissed when the guy failed the drug test; he stayed on as a contractor.
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:00 PM   #18
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He was going to have to take a drug test at work and he knows for certain that he will not pass. After some discussion, he realized his only alternative is to resign.
Your friend may want to do some research on Erowid.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:21 PM   #19
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I'm quite certain it's pot and nothing else.
If your friend resides in one of the 10-15 states where medical marijuana is legal.... he should try to get a Dr.'s recommendation that makes it legal for his personal use (to treat the illness, of course!).

I suspect some employers might not risk a lawsuit for firing an employee who legally uses a medication recommended by his/her Dr.

I don't know if this would work.... but it's an idea.
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:25 PM   #20
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Navy recruiters were always trying to move the line on the difference between "experimentation" and "drug user". IIRC in the 1990s it was drawn between the numbers six and seven.

I noticed the anecdotal correlation between our best & brightest shipmates and their pre-service drug-use waivers. (CINCPACFLT Junior Sailor of the Year = 6.) But there was also a definite correlation between the worst shipmates and their in-service drug use.

In 1991 our local weapons-handling station went through a scandal after discovering that a contractor crane & forklift operator had been smoking pot on his breaks. (We determined that it was the guy who looked like the Doobies' Jeff Baxter.) I guess they were concerned that he'd start bouncing torpedoes & missiles on the pier or drop one over the side. By the time we got over there for our next weapons load, they were under such scrutiny and moving so slowly that a little dope didn't seem like such a bad idea after all...
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