Though just 25% of this month's Reader Panel respondents submit potential or current employees to drug tests, the topic seemed to strike a chord with a majority of our panelists. Responses were strong from remodelers on both sides of the issue.
While the reasons for administering drug tests to prospective hires may seem obvious, remodelers had equally compelling reasons for not testing.
"Turnover for new employees is very high," said one respondent, adding, "I don't want to spend money on someone who may quit in a month."
"The potential employee pool is already shallow enough as it is," explained another remodeler afraid of shutting out talented help.
Others simply expressed a lack of interest in invading their employees' privacy.
"I do a criminal background check," one respondent says. "As long as there is no indication of drug or alcohol abuse [at work], I don't care what they do in the privacy of their home."
Another panelist puts it more plainly: "Drugs are not evil."
There was also disagreement among respondents regarding whether they would be willing to hire a rehabilitated former drug abuser. Affirmative responses ranged from the hopefully optimistic — "Everyone deserves a second chance" — to the field-tested — "Rehabbed employees have a tendency to stay with the job and are more motivated to work."
Another panelist noted, "If we didn't believe in rehabilitation, we might as well lock up half our youth and throw away the key."
But not all seemed so willing to forgive and forget.
"The likelihood of a relapse is just too great," said one remodeler who wouldn't hire a former drug abuser. "There are plenty of good apples out there."
Another seemed concerned not so much with the reliability of the employee but with the effect his presence would have on the company's image: "'I am a very small company and I am concerned about how this employee would affect my company's reputation [with customers]," he said.
Wherever you might come down on the issue, drug and alcohol abuse remains a bigger problem among employees in this industry than in most. Care to weigh in on the issue? E-mail Chris Keimig at email@example.com.
Tool Winner: James Techam, of Vision Remodeling, in Little Canada, Minn., won a Bosch 3915 10-inch slide compound miter saw for participating in this month's Reader Panel. Each month, survey respondents are entered into a drawing for a power tool. The Reader Panel survey is conducted for REMODELING by Specpan, a division of The Farnsworth Group.