Well it started innocently enough, the local Post Office was looking for a part time letter carrier...
So I went down and applied, the Post Master said I would have to pass a background check, a Drug test a physical and a driving test. I figured I could pass the driver's test and one out of four ain't bad. Next thing I know the Post office calls says they want to hire me. They send me off to the State Police to get finger printed. A couple weeks go by and I get notice to report for a physical and drug test. Seems I passed the background check?
I thought long and hard about it, I had ten days and I was broke so chances were pretty good that I would pass a drug test. But Hey I am an activist!
An Activist who spent the last year traveling around the country telling people to fail drug tests on purpose!
I set up an online poll to see what my readers thought about the choices I was facing...
40.7% said burn and fail on purpose, 34.6% said Refuse to take the test,
100% were for practicing my right to inhale!!!
The truth is I knew what I was going to do before the poll. Since I have been telling people to fail drugs tests on purpose all year, I decided make my stand. I was shooting for false positive. I popped herbs and over the counter drugs all week, drank herbal teas and ate all my poppy seeds. Then someone stuck a bowl of kind bud in my face 36 hours before the test. Cough Cough... Next thirty six hours I drank nothing but my special herbal tea blend.
So I took the piss test... I got to see the whole routine, It's like a pregnancy test, except there are five plus and minus strips. I flat lined it, no pluses no minuses. (Noble Urine ?) So since it didn't do anything (two times) they sent it off to a lab for special analysis. Go figure? (how much did all this cost them?) A month went by, so I stopped in and asked the postmaster what was up? He said that the lab tests were also mute, no results either way. Never happened before, lab was baffled. Next???
Another month goes by I get another notice to report for a drug test, this time I have less than 48 hours before the exam. I had just received a large bonus from my day job and had just gotten some fine kind. So I sat down to think about how to handle this test, while I burned a fattie. Then I smoked three more times before the exam. I drank my tea that night while partying, and another quart in the morning. I stopped smoking with twelve hours to go, this time I was going to fail for real... I called them in the morning and I asked why I had to take the test again? I was told my first specimen had been lost. So I reported as scheduled for the test. I went in and passed the test...
It had now been four months since I started this job process. What if I really needed this job, don't drug tests discriminate against those who need immediate employment?
In the end I was told I could not be hired because of previous back injuries.
How much money did they waste on the guy that couldn't pass the physical?
Test three AKA My Day as a Taxi Cab Driver
Like most of my stories, it began simply enough. The Newspaper ad read limo and taxi cab drivers needed. Since I have driven over a million miles and not killed my self or anyone else, and because I had just made a 1000 mile trip to Canada and back in 28 hours, I assumed I had the basic "drive" to get this job done.
I went down to fill out an application, and was told to report for a drug test. I filled out the papers, pissed in a cup and went on my way. Two days later I received a phone call asking me to report to fill out the necessary paperwork. Paperwork consisted of reading the Pa drivers manual and the rules and regulations of being a Taxi Cab driver. I read the material and passed a written exam, I was then told to report Monday morning at 9am for drivers training.
Since the rules stated, that one should report 20 - 30 minutes before one's shift, I arrived at 8:20. I was told my trainer wasn't in yet, to just hang out until he arrived. My trainer finally arrived at 9:20. He was clean cut and serious looking but smelled like a frat boy on Saturday morning. He was obviously still drunk and not quite into the hang-over stage. He indicated in conversation that he had been partying until about 4:00am. He began with a lecture on Taxi - cab etiquette, how to handle drunks etc... We then did a safety check, checking the fluids, lights and such. I pointed out a questionable tire, near black transmission fluid, a missing dip stick on the power steering, a missing seat belt, missing jack accessories and several other problems. I was told that all were on the line and the mechanic would address them in the near future. After repeating everything several times, we were ready for the road. The foul odor, left over from the trainers previous night of heavy drinking, filled the entire taxi, I rolled down my window for fresh air. We ran into heavy traffic immediately and a quick stop was called for, I stepped down hard on the brakes and a combination of grinding and squealing brought us to an eventual stop. My trainer responded with "gee, those brakes don't sound too great." First stop someplace to eat, I took him to Burger King, where he wolfed down a burger. Upon leaving burger king we found that the taxi wouldn't start. By the way he responded," never turn off your taxi unless, it will be out of your sight for more than a few minutes, and never lock the doors..." He then sprawled out in the back seat and called out addresses, which I had to find. We spent the next four hours driving around the area, to make sure I had a firm grasp of the street layouts. When we returned to "base" and I signed up for 38 hours in each of the next four weeks. I was excited about the possibility of many fascinating conversations that were sure to come. I went home happy with the fact that I would be earning cash in 18 short hours.
Around 10:30 pm my telephone rang, it was the Medical Review Officer from the drug testing company. She notified me that I had tested positive for marijuana and that I was not to report to work. She also informed me that under federal law, I was not to work any safety sensitive job for 30 days. According to the Taxi cab company, since I failed the "drug test" I would be ineligible for employment with them for one year.
The message? Drunks are safer drivers than someone who smoked a joint two weeks or a year ago... It's your governments policy.
Unlike the previous stories this one is quite complicated;
From May 1996 - until 2007, I was employed on and off by a company who sometimes drug tests.
During the past fifteen years, I have usually take off 6 - 16 weeks off work to recover from the long term work stress on my body. I suffer from carpal tunnel, and have a spinal cord injury dating back to 1978. I also suffer from sleep aphnea (frequently awaken at night because I stop breathing) Stress and over work contribute to all these problems as well as cause my other problems insomnia due to pain, which leads to my another medical problem, after days of little or no sleep, I begin to suffer from narcoleptic (uncontrolled unannounced ) sleep periods. I will fall asleep while standing, sitting or even driving for a few seconds or until I hit the floor. When I stand more than 6-8 hours my back, knees and feet hurt a lot after 10 hours my legs tend to buckle and I fall to the floor.
In 2007 I got a new supervisor, in her first week as supervisor she said that No manager could do any hiring, came in the stores and threw out all the applications on file, because she didn't like their writing, their availability (She wants people to give 80 hours availability and then work them 20 - 30 hours) She doesn't like students, teenagers, working mothers, and anyone who checks the criminal record line. (She once told me not to hire someone because she "heard" that their ex-boy friend was a drug dealer) She said we didn't need assistant managers. She even came in and started changing written schedules without informing the employees. The result of these actions in every store was to be constantly short staffed. The end result 45 hour work week became 60 plus instantly for me for no reason. I had already not had a day off in three weeks and had planned a two day weekend to go see my dying grandfather who was 103 years old at the time. She changed the schedule, so I gave her two weeks notice and I never got another day off up until when I quit three weeks later, 2 days after my grandfather died. I had to quit my job to go to my grandfather's funeral...
On October 24th 2007 just after 8pm. She called me again, after losing most of the managers under her over a six month period. She asked me to come back at 4am the next morning giving me less than 8 hours notice on an end of the week paperwork day, and said if I didn't she would inform unemployment that I turned down the job, so again I came back. Under Mary's rules, I had no assistant, no days off my 45-50 week turned into 65 - 90 hours for the same pay except with no bonuses possible.
From September first until February first I got exactly one day off. During January working 12-18 hours a day, my legs gave out three times and I fell asleep several times doing paper work in the early am, once gashing my nose went it hit the counter on the way down. I repeated stressed to Mary that I could not continue this way, since there were days I couldn't remember driving to work and my falls were becoming more and more frequent.
The first week of February I told Mary that I needed to have an assistant in place before April first because I intended to have Saturdays off over through summer or I would be leaving again. A couple of days later, I was busy at work and she came in to tell me that my whole store was being randomly drug tested. I believed that I had a clear understanding of the drug testing policy. Slightly enlightened their policy is pre-employment, suspicion of use, and after work related accidents. I have always interpreted this as basically don't ask don't tell. I told her that there was no provision in the drug policy for random testing, I knew this because I read everything before I sign it. She refused to show me a copy of the policy and said I would be fired if I didn't comply. I offered her my keys and told her if she sent me, I would not pass the test. She said lets wait and see.
She called the local hospital to tell them she was sending five people in for drug testing. They told her she had to make appointments, that you can't just send people in, unless it involved a motor vehicle accident.
She claimed that they do this all the time, yet she didn't know that she had to make an appointment. I been with the company on and off for 12 years, worked in 10 different stores, I have never been drug tested nor have any of my employees. Appointments were made for the next day.
So being sick of 80 plus hour weeks, that night I went home found some stems, scraped some bowls and managed something to smoke on my time in my home. Yes, I failed on purpose, I would go so far as to say that I quit 18 hours before the drug test was administered.
The next day when she came to send us off to be tested, I again asked for a copy of policy again she declined to give me one, knowing the policy was dismissal for refusing a test, I and my employees reported and pissed in the cups. The testing papers said we would be notified of the results with in three days and that the employer would not be notified until after the test was discussed with us.
A week passed and nothing was said or happened. On the eighth day the Mary came in and handed me a paper with a phone number and said to call it now. I called, they said it was the lab drug testing doctor,
(I have no idea who I spoke with and was never sent a copy of the results) it could have been anybody impersonating a doctor for all I know.
They told me that I failed for marijuana and that the results would be sent to corporate office. I hung up the phone and Mary asked me what they said? I told her that they said they would send a report. I then told her I was going to corporate office to get a copy of the policy and see the form they claimed I signed consenting to random testing. The policy was just as I remembered and the sign off referred to the handbook policy.
Human relations said it was a random testing, but could not show me any mention of random tests, then I told her I quit. She said you can't quit you have already been fired. I asked for what reason, she said for failing the drug test. I asked her how she could fire me for a drug test before she got the results. She said that she had a sealed envelope on her desk and that she opened it as soon as I made the phone call, because they wouldn't have had me make the phone call if I had passed. I asked why it took them eight days instead of the stated three days, she said that they were unable to get a hold of me at home or work for the past week (I worked 88 hours in those eight days and went straight home everyday and I have a cell phone). I returned to the store and gave Mary my other set of keys, she told me I was not allowed in my office and could take nothing from the premises.
My physical exhaustion due to over work and unreasonable hours, became even more apparent when I left as I slept 20 hours a day for the first two days off and 12 hours a day for the next week.
So I applied for unemployment, Mary has replied to unemployment, that the store was drug tested under suspicious activity because of excessive cash shortages. I also don't see the connection between cash shortages and drug testing as people are and have been routinely fired for cash shortages. The claim of unusual shortages in it self, indicates that Mary was worried about her conduct in this matter.
I drive an 1989 white ford van, I use my van to express my first amendment rights. It is semi covered in bumper stickers, small paintings and transfers. Of the sixty some stickers currently displayed 17 refer to Marijuana, hemp or the War on Drugs. The rest are either bands / music related or political in some way or another. If there is / was any questions on my use or support of Marijuana, they don't have to piss test me...
I also stood in front of the gates at PSU every Thursday for 2 1/2 years and frequently smoked pot during our protests, one week I was on the six o'clock news, practicing my right to protest with a joint hanging from my mouth.
Since 1998 - present, I drive my van any where everywhere including work and yes it sits in the parking lot everyday for all to see. During the summer when I am not at work, I make speaking appearances at political events, subjects include Drug testing, Uses of Marijuana, activism, First amendments Rights and Freedom in general.
How employers ever gained the power to do what the government is not allowed (regulate what I do in my own home on any given night) is beyond me, and this why I choose to speak out. Because I believe No one owns or controls my home or my body.
In all of my years of service at this company, I was never missed a day of work. I never came to work under the influence and never brought drugs into the workplace.
Unemployment initially has taken the companies side saying that I was discharged for failing a drug test, I challenged them to prove that such a test was necessary and reasonable and did not violate my fourth amendment rights.
I got my day in unemployment court. I argued that there was no written policy concerning random drug testing, that they knew I smoked marijuana and had continued to rehire me with this foreknowledge and that since I failed on purpose, that I had quit not been fired and or I quit before I was fired. Further more there was no drug test results or statements from any testing facility submitted into evidence, so that it had not been proven that I had failed a drug test. I left the court confident, that I had made my case. The judge sided with the company saying I had violated company policy (which I hadn't) and that the proof was that had admitted that I had used marijuana in open court.
Lesson learned here?
You can't fight discrimination when the government is the sponsor of the discrimination...
From my personal experiences, I can say that drug tests don't work and are also easily defeated, which makes them totally useless... If you get a chance to take one and could care less about the opportunity it may bring or take away just fail. If you care for some reason spend the $40 and cheat the test. It's the American way.