Tight Job Market Means Firms Drop Testing 

Tight Job Market Means Firms Drop Testing 
Posted by FoM on August 07, 2000 at 22:08:42 PT
By Stephanie Armour, USA TODAY
Source: USA Today
Companies are quietly dropping controversial employment tests such as drug screenings, medical exams and psychological exams  a sharp reversal from the early 1990s when such testing was the rage. More employers are dropping the exams amid growing fears job seekers in today's tight labor market will snub firms that require such tests.
Others are questioning the effectiveness of employee screenings or facing lawsuits from workers who say the exams go too far. "Companies are adjusting to a tight labor market," says Eric Greenberg, an American Management Association (AMA) spokesman. "If you've got an absolutely critical position you need filled and the person shows up dirty on a test for marijuana, you may regret you ever asked. You're dealing with a situation where you don't have the luxury to pick and choose."The number of firms using psychological measurements has dropped from 52% in 1998 to 33%, based on a recent poll by the AMA of 2,133 firms. Companies requiring drug testing of current employees have fallen from 62% in 1997 to 47% this year, the study found. Behind The Shift:Workers are speaking out against some tests. Last month , Rent-A-Center settled a class-action lawsuit brought by workers who felt questions in a psychological test went too far. Some of the 502 true-false questions included "I believe there is a God," "I have no difficulty starting or holding my bowel movement" and "I have never indulged in any unusual sex practices," according to the lawsuit. The Plano, Texas-based firm will pay $2 million in damages and discontinue using the psychological test at its 2,500 stores, a lawyer for the workers says. A Rent-A-Center spokesman declined to comment on the case."It was absurd," says Scott Hadley, 37, in San Francisco, a former manager who filed suit. "I was offended someone would ask me these questions."Employers don't want to reduce the pool of available hires. Companies struggling to find workers don't want to weed out potential applicants or deter applicants with tests, experts say. And many job seekers do shy away from some screenings. If asked to submit to a psychological test, nearly 15% of job seekers would either take it reluctantly or politely refuse the tests, based on a new poll by CareerBuilder. And 12% would end the interview immediately and leave."If you're driving people away, that's tricky in this job market," says Barry Lawrence, a spokesman at the Reston, Va.-based online career site. "In a job market where you're doing everything to bring people in, it's a quagmire for employers."Decreasing drug use among employees. The number of employees testing positive for drug use has dropped to the lowest level in 11 years, according to Quest Diagnostics, a Teterboro, N.J.-based provider of diagnostic testing that compiles statistics semiannually for clients. The company performs 10 million drug tests a year. Contact: editor Feedback: August 7, 2000 Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives:
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