Casino and business operators are sick and tired of battling to fill employment vacancies because of marijuana pre-testing rules.
Caesars Entertainment has thrown caution to the wind and scrapped screening prospective employees for marijuana.
The CEO of Nevada’s Association of Employers, Thoran Towler, explains that his organization’s 400 business executives are frustrated with the pre-screening rule because it hampers their attempts to fill employment vacancies.
Posts remain vacant because of drug screening tests
Towler says he has been told by members that staff shortages have forced them to take staff off the casino floor to do housekeeping tasks like making beds. His organization’s members felt that they simply could not concern themselves with what their staff did in their spare time.
He also revealed that about one-tenth of his members had already scrapped the marijuana pre-screening process but still continued to test for hard-core drugs like cocaine, heroin and opiates. However, no data has been collected to pinpoint the exact number of companies that still conduct drug screening tests, although a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management puts that figure at 57 percent.
Is the Trump administration adopting a more liberal approach?
In a recent and interesting twist on the Trump administration’s hardline attitude to marijuana, his Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, told a congressional hearing that employers should distance themselves (“step back”) from the pre-screening rule. Acosta pointed out that there were large numbers of unemployed Americans and questioned whether drug testing policies were hampering the employment process.
Caesars Entertainment’s decision was prompted by the recent legalization of recreational pot in the state. A company spokesman said the casino operator felt that the time was now prudent to take a different stance regarding the drug testing process because it was eliminating many good candidates from obtaining a job and believed drug testing to be counter-productive.
Caesars will fire staff members on a “high”
According to Caesars’ executive vice-president of corporate communications and community affairs, Rich Broome, the company would maintain a good balance by appointing capable staff and providing them with a safe working environment. Caesars wanted to offer employment to capable candidates but would ensure that they were “straight” when at work. Broome said if an employee was suspected of being high or of using drugs while at work they would have to undergo a drug screening test. If they proved positive for drugs they could be fired.
He added that certain posts, such as drivers, would also still require applicants to undergo drug pre-screening tests. He said it was mandatory for companies to screen drivers in terms of the US Department of Transportation’s stipulations.
Drug screening began in the late 1980s but with pot now legal in nine states – and more to follow – employers are having a change of heart about continuing to implement a process that eliminates good candidates from the workforce and makes it difficult to fill vacant posts.
Caesars Entertainment is just one of several companies that have scrapped the marijuana pre-screening rule following the legalization of recreational pot in Nevada.
Many more employers are expected to follow suit, especially since Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, has indicated that a more liberal attitude towards marijuana should be adopted by scrapping drug pre-screening tests to circumvent America’s unemployment rate.