Is drug testing disappearing across the country?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about drug testing. I mentioned attitudes toward drug testing were changing as a result of the legalization of marijuana in a number of states and jurisdictions. He told me his company was considering such a move because they are in a number of locations across the company and they wanted to have one consistent policy. They wanted to make sure they were being “fair”. I did not go further with the conversation, after all, it was a Saturday night and I did not want to be talking “shop.” But, that is not an unusual situation for companies to be finding themselves in as a result of the legalization of marijuana.

Thing of the past?

Influential attorney and writer, Robin Shea of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, asks the question Will drug testing become a thing of the past? Shea, in talking about a BNA report, said that there are two reasons that drug testing is starting to diminish. The first of these is indeed the changing legal structure across the country. The second reason is that good employees are getting harder to find in a tight labor market. I guess “good” employees in many areas are inclined to take a “toke.”

Before you fold your program

Shea says there are several things that need to be considered before you close down your drug testing program. These include:

Safety still counts

Even though marijuana may be legal it still impairs performance. So for positions where safety is critical, such as operating machinery or driving a car, make sure you continue to test in safety-critical positions.

Federal law still counts

Despite state legislation, under federal law marijuana is still illegal. If you are a federal contractor you may not have the same “freedoms” that non-contractors may have.

Don’t forget jobs that are required to be drug tested

Some jobs require drug testing, such as transportation or aviation, regardless of what state law says.

Drug testing can result in saved money

Many state programs offer a discount on your workers’ compensation premium. Sometimes that savings can be substantial.

Consider keeping your program with modifications

There are several modifications you can make to your program. First, you can eliminate marijuana testing completely, though Shea recommends you keep it in place for safety-sensitive positions. Second, continue to test for Schedule 1 drugs.


She also recommends you keep testing “for cause” or post-accident.

Just remember, these laws, do not require any employer to allow an employee to have to work will in an impaired state. Just like we would not let an employee work while impaired by alcohol, we do not have to allow an employee to be impaired by any drug, including marijuana.


Future Friday: A thought for the day

by Michael Haberman on March 16, 2018 · 0 comments

“The workplace has always been a fluid concept, from factories and workshops, to offices and coffee shops. This trend of a workplace being anything anywhere, according to the needs of the times, is set to continue – with the virtual office simply the next logical step.”

-Paul Clarke, Head of UK at unified communications provider, 3CX, quoted in Will the ‘future of work’ make employees more productive? by Kathryn Cave

Where is your organization headed?


Ways to Honor Star Employees on a Tight Budget

by Michael Haberman on March 15, 2018 · 0 comments

There are many ways to reward employees without spending a lot of money.

Today’s post is brought to you by my friends at 

Many businesses go through lean times, but that does not mean you have to put recognition on hold. Consider the following options for rewarding employees that are beneficial for your business, budget, and staff.

Work/Life Balance

If your business model supports it, offering a flexible work schedule can be a huge advantage for some employees. Announce the possibility of this reward in a quick survey of your staff to gauge interest in the program and request feedback for potential options. Some examples of a flexible schedule include four ten hour days, later or earlier shifts and working from home. If your employees show an interest in this benefit you can offer the option at little or no cost to your organization. Items for consideration include shift differential and home office setup and security.

Rewards like the new iPhone SE allow employees to do more while away from the office. This is substantially less expensive than setting up a second workspace for a work-from-home employee, but if the funds are available to allow work-from-home as an option, the iPhone SE could greatly compliment that model.

Social Recognition

Present rewards for great performance during quarterly all-associate or team meetings. Recognition is great, but it can have a larger impact and also serve as motivation for other employees when given publicly. Leave a candy gift with a play on words like Extra gum (Thanks for going the “Extra” mile), Lifesavers, and coffee drinks “Thanks “a latte” and the rewarded associate names listed on a sign of top ten performing employees. Post this in a meeting or break room space. Pinterest is a great resource to search for low-cost employee recognition ideas like these, but make sure you are aware of any allergies or diet restrictions beforehand or it could fall flat and even backfire if it highlights a lack of personal knowledge about the recipient.

Health and Wellness

Speak with local gyms and fitness studios to see if they will provide a discount or even a few free classes for employees. More companies are offering daycare at their facility, but this requires extra space and a willingness to cover the added insurance and other regulations required for this option. An economical alternative would be to work out a discount with an established daycare near your offices and promote the daycare provider in your facility.

Consider providing free healthy snacks like fruit, salad kits, and whole grain cereals or PowerBars in your break room to encourage healthy eating and remove the need to leave the office. Finally, have employees put lists together of their favorite healthy apps to download on their smartphones, and help them keep track of weight loss, quit smoking or start exercising. Reward associates by allowing them work time or covering one of the employee’s duties, so they can compile this list and then present their findings at your next meeting.

Many businesses go through lean times, but that does not mean you have to put recognition on hold. Consider options for rewarding employees that are beneficial for your business, budget, and staff.

These options reward good work by your staff, save your company money and increase business in your organization’s community, so everyone is rewarded.


Why it is important to your job to get enough sleep

by Michael Haberman on March 14, 2018 · 2 comments

Lack of sleep affects your work and your health

Lack of sleep affects your work and your health

As we just passed the weekend where daylight savings time came back I thought some facts about the importance of sleep on performance were in order. I have struggled the last couple of days, staying up later, mostly because my biological clock had not readjusted. I have written some similar posts in the past, see in particular Three Work Reasons to get a Good Night’s Sleep.


  • The average American adult, while spending 7.5 hours in bed only gets 6.1 hours of sleep. If you are anything like me, you toss and turn, you think about work or you get up and take the trip to the bathroom.
  • Lack of sleep causes performance problems.
    • Doctors with less than six hours of sleep between procedures produce twice the number of surgical complications.
    • Pilots nod off an average of 22 times in the last 30 minutes of a flight last four hours or more if they have not had a nap.
    • Medical interns working a 30-hour shift every third night make 36% more medical errors
  • Lack of sleep has a major effect on your health
    • Sleeping just 6 hours per night increases your risk of being overweight by 27%
    • Sleeping just 5 hours increases your risk of being overweight by a whopping 73%!
  • When you lack sleep you may as well have been drinking
    • Skipping 1.5 hours of sleep gives you a cognitive impairment equivalent to a blood-alcohol level of .05%.
    • Being awake 24 hours is the equivalent of a blood-alcohol level of .10%
    • Drowsy driving is responsible for 20% of vehicle crashes that result in a half million injuries and 8000 deaths.

These are some pretty sobering figures. Employees who work long hours, have to commute home, have to be involved with their families and then get in bed late are a hazard to others and a drain on your company productivity.

Naps help

I am a big believer in the value of naps. I have written about naps here and here. It is a well-documented fact that naps increase productivity and alertness. Here are some additional facts about naps:

  • A 20-minute nap taken 8 hours after you awake will boost your stamina more than sleeping an extra 20 minutes in the morning
  • That 20-minute nap is more effective than 200 mg of caffeine
  • A nap three times a week lowers the chance of a heart-related death by 37%

Those are some pretty compelling numbers in favor of naps.

Try to do what you can to get readjusted. I for one decided to take the first Monday after daylight savings time return. It helped a lot.



How much do you really trust the government?

by Michael Haberman March 13, 2018

Tweet The US Department of Labor is trying to become a much friendlier agency when dealing with employers, really they are. They have reinstituted opinion letters, where employers can reach out to the USDOL and get information about a situation, that handled incorrectly could result in a lawsuit. These opinion letters can then act as […]

Read the full article →

Can you get by toxic office politics?

by Michael Haberman March 12, 2018

Tweet I was sitting around the having a conversation with friends the other day about workplaces and the “office politics” that often soured people’s view of the workplace. I found that it is not only businesses that have this problem. One of my friends, an ex-pastor, said that the church he was associated with was […]

Read the full article →

Future Friday: Habits of a Futurist

by Michael Haberman March 9, 2018

Tweet Yesterday I wrote about the work habits of a genius. Today I want to expose you to the work habits of a futurist. Why you ask? I want you to think like a futurist, at least to be aware of things that will have an impact on you, your job, and your company. The […]

Read the full article →

Lessons from the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

by Michael Haberman March 8, 2018

Tweet Fair warning. This post has nothing to do with HR. It is all about personal improvement. I  just finished reading Walter Isaacson’s biography, Leonardo Da Vinci. This is a well-written book about a fascinating man. I knew he was a master and was considered a genius both in his time and especially in the […]

Read the full article →

Three HR Lessons on a Wednesday morning

by Michael Haberman March 7, 2018

Tweet When you write five times a week like I do, you become grateful that other write great material that I can point out to you. Today is one of those days where I want to make you aware of some informative and thought=provoking lessons. First up is Todd Lebowitz who warns us that even […]

Read the full article →

The Issue of Sexual Orientation has been settled, or has it?

by Michael Haberman March 6, 2018

Tweet In Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, there is no expressed protection for sexual orientation. However, during the Obama administration, the EEOC ruled that sexual orientation is protected under sexual discrimination provisions of Title VII. When the country switched over to the Trump administration, the Department of Justice said that sexual orientation is […]

Read the full article →