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Stoned workers a conundrum for business owners

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2017 | Construction Law

Have you had difficulty assembling qualified construction crews to handle all of your jobs because you can’t find enough reasonably competent workers who can pass pre-employment or random drug screens?

Or perhaps you’re fed up with dealing with the fall-out after a series of on-the-job accidents left you and your business vulnerable to civil litigation from injured claimants.

Either way, it might be time to re-evaluate your workforce and their penchant for getting buzzed.

But it’s just pot

America is fast becoming the Land of the Stoned, as more than 22 million Americans got high at least once in the past month. Put another way, that works out to 8.3 percent of the total United States’ population older than 11, as reported in one recent survey focused on health and drug usage.

The pot being smoked today is also a lot stronger than the weed from past decades. The THC levels have increased from a relatively low average of 3 percent in the 80s to four times as high (12 percent) in 2012. That’s not even counting specialized hybrid strains that can have THC levels higher than 30 percent.

What can employers do about the “pot problem?”

Marijuana’s ever-changing legal status on the state level causes confusion for employers and those prescribed medical marijuana in states where it’s now legal.

However, here in Florida, pot is still illegal, and of course it remains illegal and classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level.

One Floridian who owns a remodeling business appears resigned to hiring potheads in order to fill slots on his crews. He said they had to drop their “No tolerance” policy when 95 percent of employee tests came back positive

The dangers and the liabilities

It’s one thing to smoke a joint to unwind after work and quite another to be toking up on the way to the job site the next day. But because most drug tests just detect the presence of marijuana, it’s almost impossible for employers to determine just when their workers are indulging.

However, with the Department of Labor reporting that 40 percent of fatalities in the workplace are linked to drug usage, business owners have to be proactive about safety. Those facing lawsuits or claims from drug-related accidents may need some legal advice for eliminating risk.

Source: Builder Online, “Where There’s Smoke: A Look at Drug Use on the Job,” Craig Webb, Aug. 03, 2017