|Master Sgt. Urbano Sosa demonstrates the job of an observer for a UPL collection exercise. As observer, maintaining a direct line of sight with a specimen bottle at all time helps to ensure a proper chain of custody and prevents tampering or altering of a specimen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The state of Georgia has publicized a rule asking employers to tattle on unemployed job seekers who test positive for drug use when applying for work. The Georgia Department of Labor rule is the latest in a flurry of state programs that impose drug tests on safety net applicants and sanctions on those who fail the tests. The Georgia rule was prominently featured on the state’s Department of Labor’s website last week.*
As I wrote last month, the problem of jobless folks abusing drugs is a concocted one that works to stigmatize the safety net programs so that they can be undercut. In an interview with Colorlines.com, the Georgia Department of Labor said it did not collect data on the number of people who have previously been booted off the jobless rolls for drug use.
Drug testing policies have been all the rage among conservative legislators since the start of the recession. At least 30 states considered bills in the last year that would have had unemployment or welfare applicants peeing in a cup.
In April, Georgia passed a law requiring all welfare applicants to take a drug test. A similar law passed by the Florida legislature last year was struck down as unconstitutional in a federal court, but Georgia lawmakers refused to heed the warnings and passed the law anyway. The welfare law will go into effect on July 1