Survey: Most Americans Say It Is “Unacceptable” For An Employee To Be Fired For Their Off-The-Job Marijuana Use

Nearly two-thirds of Americans disagree with workplace policies that allow employers to sanction an employee for his or her off-the-job consumption of cannabis, according to a just released HuffPost/YouGov poll.

Sixty-four percent of the poll’s respondents, including 62 percent of self-identified Republicans, said that it is “unacceptable for a company to fire an employee for using marijuana during his or her free time” if the employee resides in a state that has legalized the plant’s adult use. An equal percentage of respondents similarly said that it would be unacceptable for an employer to fire an employee for after-hours drinking.

Only 22 percent of respondents said that it is acceptable for employers to fire workers who consume cannabis legally after-hours.

To date, the Supreme Court of three separate states — California, Oregon, and Washington — have all similarly ruled that an employee who uses cannabis legally while off the job can still be sanctioned by their employer.

Forty-five percent of respondents in the HuffPost/YouGov poll agreed that it should always be unacceptable for an employer to sanction an employee for his or her off-the-job marijuana use, even if the use took place in a state that classifies cannabis as illegal.

Conventional workplace drug tests detect the presence of inert drug metabolites, non-psychoactive by-products that linger in the body’s urine well after a substance’s mood-altering effects have subsided.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll surveyed 1,000 adults and possesses a margin of error is +/- 4.8 percent.

54 thoughts

  1. Lockedout, I feel for you. In all seriousness, the complete lack of justification for the prohibition of marijuana and all the damage to our society inflicted by the hands of a very few is very close to becoming the world’s largest Class Action Lawsuit. If you have suffered a loss due to someone else’s actions, you can sue. Marijuana users are legion and we never stop until we are made whole in the eyes of society. This includes repayment for unjustified job losses, in prisonment, and fines paid for no good reason.

    Really, the longer this government and private companies push the prohibitionist agenda, the higher the tab goes. They think they can just keep spouting lies to hide behind, but the clock is now ticking.

  2. @lockedoutofmyshed: Actually, I don’t know if they drug test or not, on top of the “fitness for duty” testing. I read someone say that online once, but I don’t know if its’ true. But the fact is that drug testing only tests for metabolytes from off-the-job drug use, and if you drug test someone who’s high it will come out negative, which makes it useless for safety since it does not test for immediate impairment and is no indication of how good a worker a given individual will be. Whereas “fitness for duty” tests for actual impairment on the spot and for any reason, not just illegal reasons, which makes it more useful.

    Re: hair testing. Some companies prefer hair testing not because it “covers a wider variety” but because they can spy on not just what you might have done between 24 hrs-3 months prior, but several years, and because it unfairly disadvantages women and black people. Women because they have longer hair and therefore can be spied on for a longer period of time, and black people because their hair actually holds onto drug residue more tightly because of it’s texture. Many companies, IMO, use hair testing because it’s a good way to screen out not drug users but black people, without having to put “coloreds need not apply” on the door. With the increased focus on drug testing in the wake of legalization, and with the increasing awareness of the racial disparity of the enforcement of the Drug War, there are going to be a lot of legal challenges to all forms of drug testing, but I think this one will be especially hard to keep up due to it’s clear targeting of African Americans.

    I’m not so much in your situation, but I’ve turned down good jobs because I’m opposed to drug testing (I do not use), and now my bottom-feeding job has decided to sell out, so I’ve been fighting various bouts of suicidal depression over the last several months, which continue today. I am a highly moral person, and to be told I have to take a drug test to get a job or keep my job is tantamount to being required to murder a puppy to get or keep a job. Add to that the fact that up to 30% of all positive results are false positives, mostly due to a complete lack of regulation or oversight on drug testing labs as well as cross-reactivity issues that the drug testing industry fraudulently keeps insisting have been resolved even as all independent sources keep showing that it has not, and I feel like I have no job security. Because there is little to no recourse for a positive drug test–all you can do is tell an industry-paid medical officer what OTC meds you’ve taken (they refuse to consider foods like poppy seeds, even though they do cause false positives for heroin) and allow this industry-paid quack to decide whether he/she think it’s “reasonable” that that could have caused a false positive. If you get a false positive, your only hope of keeping your job is the opinion of an employee of the drug testing industry. Is that anything like letting the fox run the henhouse? I don’t use, but I have zero faith in the technology, especially when the industry keeps insisting fraudulently that they have “100% accuracy” even though they are consistently shown to be lying by unbiased sources to this day. Why are these frauds not in jail?

    Anyway, I sympathize, and I’m glad to hear you’re not one of those “private companies should be allowed to do anything, even if it’s wrong” types. Whenever someone pulls that line, it makes me crazy with rage! So I might have jumped the gun a bit with you. Let’s keep fighting the good fight then, and maybe we can see MJ legalized AND drug testing go the way of the polygraph soon!

    Also, it probably still affects you even if you retire in ten years and it takes that long to fix this mess, because the drug testing industry is spreading it’s fraud so far that now that they’ve forced nearly every person to piss in a cup, they want them to also piss for food stamps despite the fact that most of those people have jobs they already pissed in a cup for, and spreading it to schools earlier and earlier, and it’s only a matter of time before they try to drug test people on Social Security and try to use that to remove those rights from anyone who tests positive. This is inevitable if we don’t fight this now. Look what happened when we failed to fight in the eighties–it went from “safety sensitive only” to everyone everywhere, to everyone everywhere multiple times for multiple reasons, all because we allowed it to continue unchallenged.

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