Workers at Wyatt Bassett’s furniture factory in Virginia use powerful tools to churn out the company’s trademark dressers and headboards, so screening new hires for drugs is a no-brainer.
Or it used to be.
Virginia last year fully legalized marijuana — the first state in the South to do so. The upshot is that “being positive for cannabis does not necessarily disqualify you for employment,” said Bassett, CEO of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co., which has 575 employees.
Faced with a shortfall in applicants, employers across the U.S. are balancing pressure to ease up on testing for a legal drug with concerns that this could impact safety and raise issues of liability.
The U.S. jobless rate ticked up to 3.7% last month, but it remains near a five-decade low.
“With the war for talent and the labor shortage, especially in some lower paying jobs, it’s tough to find and retain folks — so many are deciding to not test, except for safety sensitive jobs,” said Julie Schweber, a senior knowledge adviser at the Society for Human Resource Management. Companies with multiple operations in different parts of the country face an added challenge, she said, because laws differ from state to state.
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