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To Pee or Not To Pee
I do not smoke, drink to excess, take drugs, have sex with farm animals, participate in politics, beat my husband, sell my kittens for medical experimentation, masturbate in public bathrooms, play my music too loud, or commit armed robberies. Wait, what was my point?
Oh, yes, I do not take drugs. No, really, I don’t. But just about every company that is interested in hiring me wants me to pee into a little plastic cup. And it’s not just me that’s running into this wet wall. Almost half of all employers in the US ask each applicant if they can borrow a cup of pee.
Now, I could understand if the job description warranted it. If I wanted to be a surgeon, or a pilot, or even a baker for Mrs. Field’s Cookies. Other peoples’ lives would be resting in my hands then. But to be a junior operations analyst in the office services department of an insurance company? Let’s not be silly about this.
Drug testing is an invasion of privacy in so many ways. When I apply at a company for employment, they are only allowed to ask certain questions. They can’t ask my height, weight, age, religious background, political beliefs (not that I have any), or any other questions that are deemed “personal.” So why are they allowed to ask for a sample of my urine? Isn’t my urine personal? Drug testing is all about companies learning what people do in their private time, normally off-duty and off the property of the employer. It ignores one of the most basic tenets that this country is founded on – innocent until proven guilty.
In 1998, the Washington, D.C. Police Department admitted that it used urine samples collected for drug tests to screen female employees for pregnancy, without their consent or knowledge. If those that we expect (okay, hope against hope, but normally know better) to uphold and enforce the laws have no problem skirting them, can we really expect better from major corporations when they have reputations like Enron? Just how far will they go? What will they test for?
The testing itself is a humiliating experience. The nameless “they” of the testing company take away your purse in case you’re carrying freeze-dried pee or other additives to “fix” the problem. The water faucet and the toilet are taped shut so you can’t dilute anything with water. Of course, this also means you can’t wash your hands afterwards. Although that might not matter too much for you men out there -- you do have better aim for obvious reasons -- it does matter to us women. Then you have to wait and hope you aren’t one of the lucky 5% to test false positive. The joys of the job search.
If left unchecked, where will this abuse go? Why not just hire psychics to look into peoples’ futures? “I want you to know, we do want to hire you, but first, please come this way. We need you to meet with Madame TzsaTzsa so she can read your future in her crystal ball.” It could happen.
Maybe I’m just being old-fashioned, but I was always under the assumption that some things were sacred. Like my bodily waste.