California Cracks Down on Job Applicants Who Have Smoked Pot

smoked potA Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco just ruled that it's OK for an employer to refuse to hire someone who has ever tested positive for marijuana or other drugs, even if the applicant has been clean and sober for years.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco stated, after a 2-1 decision, that the rule "imposes a harsh penalty on applicants who test positive," and could seem unreasonable because many drug and alcohol users do recover. But the Pacific Maritime Association's policy was adopted for safety purposes and not to single out former drug users, according to the ruling. The Pacific Maritime Association controls hiring in the West Coast longshore industry.

Apparently, there have been a large number of substance abuse-related safety incidents.

This issue has been brewing for several years. In 1997, a man by the name of Santiago Lopez was turned down for a longshore position in Long Beach because he failed a drug test. He then underwent treatment and applied again in 2004, but the association wouldn't consider him because he'd tested positive seven years earlier.

"This is a very draconian view that impacts potentially thousands of people," Lopez's attorney, Andrea Cook, told the San Francisco Chronicle. Cook also said that she knows of no other employer, including law enforcement and the armed services, that permanently bars applicants because of a single positive drug test.

At 36, Lopez has now graduated from college, is raising a family and has a job, but he makes less than he would have as a longshoreman. Cook had indicated her client might seek an appeal.

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Former members of Chile's Pinochet regime have filed an Amicus brief saying the ruling makes perfect sense to them.



April 02 2011 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This happened in SF?! Surely won't be good for CA's already poor unemployment numbers; they'll have to bus folks from Oklahoma or something. By that logic, the last few Presidents shouldn't have served (hmmmm). The real issue is why Lopez makes more as a Longshoreman than as a college grad - Union busting anyone?

Most of this crap comes from the 9th Circuit court - let's dump that moronic institution.

March 30 2011 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Slowly we become a third world nation.

March 28 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Turnip Magee

If it was made by Pfizer, it'd be fine though right? Clearly, the 10% of the population on psyche meds, can crash cars every day while on them, but someone using natural herbs to alleviate anxiety, on his own personal time, should lose his right to work. This country is dying, and it's those that say that want to 'save' it, that are killing it. You are soldiers in the class war; you fight for the billionaires that want only to further exploit you and make you poorer. Oh, yeah - I'd trust Russia Today to present a story with less MIC-Corporate bias than AOL any day of the week. That goes for Al-J too.,

March 27 2011 at 5:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The leader of SWAT drug raids in my region was set up by the FBI in a drug sting and found to be a Meth user. He underwent rehabilitation and is still in charge of the regional drug task force. Meth heads busting pot heads. Gee this type of thing doesn't contribute to all the "accidental" murders by SWAT. I wonder if they could find the address they were supposed to be at if they weren't hopped up on steroids and hardcore stimulants?

Furthermore its OK to take Americans right to earn a living away from them but the armed forces can't touch the members of the Tali-ban producing the majority of the worlds opiates. Rather they help them since during our time there opiate output from Afghanistan has increased. Shocker, factions of our government overseeing drug dealing. Its not like that type of thing has been going on for decades or anything.

But hardcore drugs are fine as long as a quack MD is prescribing them, like say when they prescribe 240 strong, opiate-based pain pills a month to someone that would do just fine with Ibuprofen. Just as long as they're not prescribing marijuana.

March 27 2011 at 5:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just say no to ********.

March 26 2011 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lorili's comment
Turnip Magee

. . . .Fascism

March 27 2011 at 5:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Why not test the people who are on welfare to see if they use drugs. i bet you could eliminate half the budget for welfare because thats what most of them do with their welfare drugs. Most of them have been on welfare for decades.. useless people waisting taxpayers money

March 22 2011 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to JimmyDistant's comment
Drug Test Welfare

JimmyDistant has a great idea, it is true, in Florida anyway, SSI recipients can also go to "pill mills" for "pain treatment" billed to the government as "supplumental benifits" Stop the madness!

March 28 2011 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marc Reynolds

Great idea. CA should also sign on to the federal wellfare-to-work program as have most other states. Here, if you don't want to obtain job training and seek employment your welfare benifits will still continue.

March 30 2011 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This decision seems like another obstacle that the system puts on its citizens even when they are tying to do good. There also states that find ways to not compensate people that have been wrongfully imprisoned.

March 09 2011 at 3:06 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

A ridiculas ruling. I can understabnd if employment is denied due to a number of things, having tested positive once for pot being one, but basing it solely on that is daconian at best. It sets a life time punishment for one small mistake.

March 08 2011 at 10:27 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Wealth Builder

It seems harsh on the surface but in positions where safety is a major cocern it is best err on the side of safety. I would like to see some time limit like within the last 5 years or 10 years or something like that.

I work in social services and I can say that the amount of substance use that goes on in our society both illegal and prescribed is very scary.

March 08 2011 at 10:17 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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