State Should Pay For Drug Tests

The letter below was sent to the editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution

As a small business owner, I could not agree more with Mr. Bookman’s premise regarding the required drug-testing of welfare applicants. However, business-wise, I have a different “spin” on what the Legislature did.

My company requires pre-employment drug tests,  which is not unusual in construction when you are working heavy equipment. In addition, the insurance company that covers us for Workers’ Compensation Insurance, requires us to drug-test any employee who is involved in any work-related accident. In both instances, my company is responsible for paying for the drug test.

Why should a job applicant incur the $25.00 per test expense? He or she should not have to do so as there is no guarantee they will be hired. In return, my company gets a discount on my liability and workers’ compensation insurance – my company directly benefits financially from this practice.

If the State of Georgia wants to pre-test welfare applicants, the state should be willing to pay for the test just as I have to do. Welfare is not a job. It is “temporary” by definition. Regardless of the 4th Amendment issues involving the proposed new law, this just seems like another case of political grand standing and class warfare by Republican legislators against people in need.

As a business, we strive to avoid litigation because it is expensive. The Republican controlled legislature seems to “invite” legal challenges to needless and “symbolic” measure, thus, wasting tax payer dollars.

Lastly, why not require drug test for all state employees, contract employees and anyone who wins a contract with the State of Georgia? That would certainly level the playing field.

Gary S. Cox is a small business owner from Atlanta