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No Workers Due to Drug Use

CNN reported this weekend that employers struggle to fill positions because so many candidates fail drug tests.

We congratulate Regina Mitchell, a co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio who told the New York Times this week that four out of 10 applicants otherwise qualified to be welders, machinists and crane operators will fail a routine drug test. Warren Fabricating & Machining remains a drug free workplace.

Regina told CNN’s Michael Smerconish that she must hire drug free workers due to safety of all her employees.  So although it is difficult to find drug free employees, Warren Fabricating & Machining is remaining diligent with drug testing to only hire employees not involved with illicit drug use.  She is also firm on protecting her employees even when the drug use is marijuana – medical or recreational.

Besides marijuana, the opioid epidemic is a huge problem in Ohio.  Regina Mitchell does not want take up time and spend money on an employee who may be absent, late or unproductive due to illegal drug use.  Her company takes a strong stand on a drug free workplace and they are to be commended for their commitment to safety.

When 4 out of 10 applicants fail the test, this should not be a message to employers to give up and hire drug users.  The message should be to continue to drug test and weed out the 4 out of 10 that will not make good employees.  Hire the 6 out of 10 that will make good drug free productive employees.

Ohio has a medical marijuana law.  This does not mean that employers in Ohio cannot drug test or drug test for marijuana.  Employers are not limited in any employment actions based on an employee’s medical marijuana use. A person who is discharged from employment because of that person’s use of medical marijuana shall be considered to have been discharged for just cause for purposes of [unemployment] if the person’s use of medical marijuana was in violation of an employer’s drug-free workplace policy, zero-tolerance policy, or other formal program or policy regulating the use of medical marijuana.

Nothing in the Ohio medical marijuana law prohibits an employer from establishing and enforcing a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy.  In fact in Ohio, the drug free workplace program is strongly encouraged by the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.  Qualifying employers can receive discounts on workers compensation insurance when implementing a comprehensive drug free workplace program.

With strong drug free workplace policies, employer can and should protect their business and all their drug free employees by doing everything possible to not have illicit drug users employed.  This can be accomplished with diligent efforts similar to those policies followed by Regina Mitchell, a co-owner of Warren Fabricating & Machining in Hubbard, Ohio.