You're starting a new business. What drug use policies do you institute

The usual eccentric billionaire owes you a favor and decides to put you in charge of a start-up in whatever field you choose and are competent in. Y’all can decide what that means for yourselves, but there’s one stipulation: we’re talking about a company that’s going to have employees other than you. At least a dozen, and more if that’s what floats your boat. Given free rein, what drug use/testing policies will you institute, and why?


Seriously. I think they’re wrong on a lot of levels.

Illicit drug use is banned by federal law.

Testing - depends on the company.

As a teacher, I really want to share that the ones I know are the biggest potheads and drunks in town. :o

I’m testing for bath salt use.
It’s because I plan on asking the eccentric billionaire to fund my bath salt distribution center and it would be poor business practice to allow my employees to cannibalize my business.

I mostly agree, to the extent that if it doesn’t affect their work performance, it’s none of my business.

So, I think the policy would be limited to “don’t do anything illegal while on duty or on company property,” to cover liability bases. Beyond that, “don’t fuck up your job” would apply, but it would regardless of the ultimate cause of the fuck-up.

ETA: oh, there’s the poll. I wouldn’t bother with testing. Just fire them if they get caught using on the job or fucked up their job (again, fucking up regardless of cause.)

None. As it is in Canada.

I don’t care what my employees do in their private lives, so long as it doesn’t screw up their work performance. I’d only test in the wake of a serious error for which drug use could have been a material contributing factor; that is, the error would not likely have occurred absent drug use. (The reason being that, if the error was a simple accident or flaw in workplace procedures, it’s foolish to fire the employee; if the employee was stoned, firing makes more sense).


If they are not doing the job I hired them to do, I’ll let them go. If their performance is stellar despite the fact that they are mainlining H each evening, well more power to 'em.

dupe, sorry.

And I’m sober as a judge right now!!

None. Just don’t show up to work messed up, on anything.


I used to work for a company that didn’t require drug testing due to the reasoning that, in their experience, the majority of people who unwisely abuse drugs and alcohol find many more documentable, actionable and obvious ways to fail: it may not be legally okay to fire somebody because he’s a drunk, but if he calls in with brown-bottle flu every single Monday? Bye-bye.

I put “at manager’s discretion” to leave the possibility open should I need it. Generally I would not bother though.

No testing at all, unless you are in a position where public safety could be impacted (driving company vehicles, safety officer for a chemical lab, etc.). I voted for “you left out an option.”

I come from the UK and FWIW I find the idea of drug tests and lie detectors ridiculous and abhorant. I guess if you have a consistent problem with people being unreliable, it makes sense to have a documented policy rather than risk people complaining about unfairness for being fired for being unreliable.

For my company, I hire people with proven track records in their fields, and don’t ask intrusive questions about their personal lives. If I were trying to hire hundreds of people all over the country with insufficient oversight, I might think about how to handle sub-par employees, although I doubt this would be the answer.

Is there any evidence that this sort of policy helps at all? Ever? My mental model has a reasonable chance of an apparently professional and competent person turning out to have some hidden vices, but I’m worried about them stealing, not using illegal drugs in ways that don’t affect their work performance.

Apparently you’ve never met many judges…

I don’t really like any of your options. I would institute performance testing - the first two weeks of employment, they will be establishing a baseline level of performance (job-related) on a software application. After that, if they come in and something appears suspicious, they will be asked to use the performance software, and if their results are under performing, they are sent home without pay for the day. If they continue to have problems with performance, they will be let go.

I’m not here to police what people do in their off-time. I’m here to make sure the job gets done.

As long as they do their job, I don’t care what else my employees do.

Besides, in the raging berserker business some drugs can be a great performance booster.

I would feel ethical to call for a drug test in the same situation I feel it’s ethical for police to call for a breathalyzer, e.g., you have just run one of my company cars through a public fountain. Showing up drunk or high to a position in which you are driving, running heavy machinery, or otherwise endangering other people shows you don’t care about anyone’s safety, and I would like to have a good reason to fire you on the spot. Drug use which causes a dangerous and preventable accident should result in termination the same as any other egregious violation of safety practices.

Otherwise, I don’t really give a damn. If nobody notices you’ve come to work completely baked, then you obviously don’t need to be sober in order to do the job I’ve given you. If you show up baked and screw up repeatedly, then I have grounds to fire you for incompetence, with or without drugs. I’ve never cared what was floating around in the waitstaff’s bloodstream as long as they got my order right and successfully served me my food; why would I start just because I owned the restaurant?

I would, however, make sure that some amount of rehab would be covered by the company health plan, in the event that your drug use started to annoy you. If you want help, you should get it; if you don’t want help but are screwing up life, the universe and everything for those around you, perhaps getting fired for it will encourage you to want help in the future.

Oh, excellent point. Likewise alcohol use in a craft brewery.

Me neither. What you assume is that there will either be
a) No testing EVER
or b) Testing as a condition of employment (with add-ons)

Which fails to account for a wide variety of options including people who want to hire anyone without tests, but reserve the right to test if there’s an accident or a performance problem, etc.