Thanks to Ronald Reagan, work place drug testing became a thing in 1988, when he signed an executive order requiring federal employees and some contractors to be tested. While regular employers were not required to do anything differently (and still aren’t), a bunch of large companies decided to join the club.
A new industry was born and got rich quickly: drug-test manufacturers and laboratories along with multi-million dollar ancillary firms all got involved in the nasty and ineffective process of fleecing workers and ruining their job prospects.
Reagan’s Drug Free Workplace Act started with 21 percent of employers requiring drug tests in 1987.
But, as the War on Drugs raged under Reagan and his eager successors, that figure jumped to 81 percent by 1996.
The drug testing industrial complex still rules, with annual revenues this year alone around $3 billion, although there is very little evidence that testing workers improves work place safety or productivity.
And, now with nearly half of all adult Americans having tried, or still consuming marijuana, that’s a large pool of workers to be drug-tested and/or left out of the workforce.
Alternet points out that workplace drug testing is almost a purely American phenomenon. They kindly published InsiderMonkey’s list of the 10 biggest companies that still engage in workplace drug testing.
Amazon may require a drug test as the last step in the hiring process, depending on the position. It also does random, suspicion-less drug tests.
2. Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s holding company, requires mouth-swab drug tests of potential hires and does random, suspicion-less drug testing.
3. Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson tests workers for both drugs and alcohol but at least provides health insurance that covers drug treatment.
4. Exxon Mobil
Exxon Mobil requires a urinalysis test for all job applicants and some alcohol testing. Word is that Exxon is moving toward hair follicle testing, which would extend the period of past drug detection from days or weeks to months.
5. JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase requires urine drug testing for all its suppliers’ employees, at the suppliers’ expense. Workers may also face random, suspicion-less drug testing.
6. General Electric
General Electric requires mandatory pre-employment drug testing and undertakes random, suspicion-less drug testing. It can also drug test employees at customer sites, if the customer requests it.
Walmart tests everyone, new hires to janitors, then tests again when considering employees for promotion.
AT&T requires a mandatory drug test before hiring new people. It may also subject workers to random, suspicion-less drug tests, but appears to do so infrequently.
9. Procter & Gamble
Procter & Gamble requires new hires to pass a drug test—either urine or hair follicle. It’s not clear whether the mode of testing is random or based on the position sought.
Chevron requires employees, contractors and subcontractors’ employees to submit to drug and alcohol testing. They require contractors to perform random, suspicion-less drug testing and drug testing after an accident.
But before you get discouraged, check out the High Times’ guide with the five most important things to know if you have to pass a drug test.