Can my boss forbid me to smoke pot?

Safety through drug abstinence?

Urine tests are also becoming increasingly popular at work. Some people refuse the tests and think their urine is nobody's business. This attitude should prevail: Control over people must not lead to seamless surveillance. Everyone must fight against this. The disadvantages of fighting are also clear: sanctions are almost inevitable, just like with a positive urine test (you won't be employed or kicked out of school, for example). And so most people just “voluntarily” agree to such tests.

The justification for such urine tests is safety. Thus, it is mainly companies from the transport industry that carry out such tests. The pharmaceutical industry, which earns good money from drug tests, also likes to test its personnel. Some only test applicants for a job, while others test individual employees or even the entire workforce on an irregular basis.

Job loss

In general, the evaluation of an employee should not be made dependent on preferences for certain psychoactive products, but on the specific performance at the workplace. And if someone performs well, the question of any drug use is irrelevant. If, on the other hand, the performance is concretely objectionable, then there is also no need for a drug test: The agreed performance is not rendered and the reason for this cannot matter to the employer.

Especially since the urine tests do not indicate how much and when someone has smoked pot, but merely that such consumption has taken place at some point in the last few weeks. In doing so, employers are interfering with the recreational behavior of their employees. This is something that also goes against the grain of data protection officers. Hemp cooking oil or poppy seed rolls can also lead to positive urine tests, which makes the whole thing even more pointless.

Testing is on the rise

But unfortunately, there are more and more companies that use tests to check their employees - only for illegal substances, of course. And for many, this still includes cannabis products. Alcohol consumption or the equally widespread abuse of various medications during leisure time, on the other hand, are rarely checked - a great injustice. An increase in this problem can be predicted for the future. In the U.S., a great deal of testing is already being done - but there are also companies there that say publicly that they do not monitor their employees with urine tests, but consider drug use to be a private matter. As long as the performance at work is good.

General drug tests violate the right to privacy. The Swiss data protection commissioner agrees - our urine is our business. And not the employer. But of course, if you refuse the test, you have little chance of being hired. And some private boarding schools even only accept students who take the test - and are negative.

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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