Bill in Wyoming Allows for Drug Testing the Unemployed


It’s like deja vu all over again. Seems that certain unemployed persons in as yet undetermined professions in Wyoming may find themselves submitting to drug tests before they can collect unemployment insurance. Or may be rendered ineligible for UI altogether if they were fired for failing a drug test.

House Bill 89 would direct the state to deny unemployment benefits when someone in a job category is fired for failing a drug test. Also, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services would begin a program to drug test people in the job categories. If they fail, they are cut off.

The list of jobs that would fall under this new bill will be determined by Secretary of State as prescribed byt the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2013

Okay, I understand the need for drug testing in certain positions (airline pilot, forklift operator, lion tamer, astronaut) and I understand the need to terminate those who test positive for drugs, but I’m concerned that this legislation is going to open the door to further legislation around those who are unemployed.

I’ve said it before (and will continue to do so), people lose jobs, quite often through no fault of their own. Companies run out of funding, positions are eliminated, jobs are phased out. People are also terminated for a lack of KSA‘s or maybe they’re just a bad fit. None of these people deserve to be treated with the indignity of a drug test in order to obtain the support they need when times are difficult.

I realize that this bill isn’t proposing testing for everyone, but at the same time, I have very little faith that this issue will end in Wyoming. In fact, I’m sure of it. Texas and Arkansas have already made some noise.

And with the Federal Government behind it, drug testing for the unemployed may be coming to a state near you. Soon.

[Cartoon by Michael Ramirez]