ACCOUNTABILITY, NOT INTRUSIONS Drug testing is a poor substitute for a strong company culture that cultivates and rewards personal accountability. While we don't test for drug use, we do test for drug problems in many ways, including job cost reports, peer reviews, attendance, and punctuality. My company also performs background checks, to protect our clients from violent and sexual offenders.

If my employees are producing projects on time and on budget, and if they're thrilling our clients, I have no justifiable reason to invade their privacy and risk the potential damage to our culture that such a divisive approach embodies.

There's also an overhead cost to drug testing that I don't believe offers any tangible benefit to the people who pay our overhead — our clients. Show me a statistically proven correlation between off-hours illicit drug use and jobsite accidents or risk of client safety that even comes close to the dangers associated with alcohol-related hangovers or, worse, sleep deprivation. If I were to invade my employees' privacy, I'd be more justified in planting cameras in their bedrooms to ensure they're getting enough sleep than testing whether they smoked a joint the previous night. If I wanted to create a police state, I'd automatically put fathers of newborns on probation and watch them like a hawk.

After a three-day case study of my company, the owners of 12 other companies said they would “kill” for a team like mine. We're accountable to one another and to our financial targets, based on clear metrics related to job performance and client happiness — not how we conduct our private lives.

Greg Antonioli
Out of the Woods Construction & Cabinetry
Arlington, Mass.
Big50 2006

PROTECTING OURSELVES AND OUR CLIENTS We take drug testing seriously, not only to protect ourselves but also to protect our clients. Before we hire someone, we screen them for drugs and criminal background, and check their driving record. In addition, our employee manual states that we can have employees randomly tested for drugs, and that they will be tested if they have a traffic accident involving a company vehicle. If they're convicted of driving under the influence, they'll be terminated immediately.

One reason for this is the immediate danger of someone having drugs in their system. We sure don't want an employee who's just come off a big party weekend walking around on the rafters in a client's house. The other reason is liability. If employees are driving my vehicles, they'd better not be on drugs! We could also be held liable if they have an accident while driving their own vehicle on company business, our insurer says. Plus, there's a Texas law that states that employers can be held liable if they don't do their due diligence on an employee, and then that person commits a crime in someone's home on company business. Our workers' comp insurer even gave us a little discount when they learned we do drug testing. There are a lot of free-spirited people in our industry who seem to believe that whatever employees do in their free time is their own business. I can't imagine sending someone into a client's home if we haven't checked that person out. It blows me away that other remodelers don't agree.

Robin Burrill
Curb Appeal Renovations
Keller, Texas
Big50 2007