Business, Lifestyle

THC Drug Testing Policies for 10 of the World’s Biggest Corporations

July 22, 2022 08:00 am ET
THC Drug Testing Policies for 10 of the World’s Biggest Corporations

Job hunting is a headache for anyone, but drug tests make the process even more cumbersome for those who consume cannabis. Despite the growing acceptance and legalization of cannabis, many major corporations still drug test their employees for THC, the main compound in the plant. Times are changing quickly, though, and many businesses are amending their drug policies to accommodate the legal cannabis community. Let’s look at the cannabis testing policies for 10 of today’s biggest corporations.

  1. Google
  2. Walmart
  3. Amazon
  4. Uber
  5. IBM
  6. Apple
  7. FedEx
  8. CVS Health
  9. Walgreens Boots Alliance
  10. Pfizer
  11. What to Know About Drug Testing


Google

Google is a popular search engine with the mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Google was officially launched in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and rapidly expanded as the years went by. Besides being a web-based search engine, Google has launched several other offerings, including Google News in 2004, Gmail in 2004, Google Maps in 2005, and Google Chrome in 2008. Statista explains that Google has more than 70 offices in over 50 countries with over 150,000 employees total.

Drug Testing Policies

Google does not ask potential and current employees for drug tests, but they do reserve the right to perform random drug tests if illicit substance use is suspected as a cause of or contribution to harassment, misconduct, abusive contact, or retaliation—all of which the company strictly prohibits.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

There appear to be no accommodations for medical marijuana (MMJ) patients. However, MMJ patients do not have to fear drug tests and consequences as long as they maintain their performance at work. Google values hard work and talent and does not want to interfere with its employees’ freedom as long as it does not impact the quality of work nor violate Google’s standards of behavior.

Union Representations

Google supports union representations, and its employees have formed their own. It’s called the Alphabet Workers Union and is associated with the Communication Workers of America (a union that represents workers in telecommunications and media). Kara Silverstein, Google’s director of people operations, stated, “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

Walmart

Walmart, formally known as Wal-Mart Stores, is arguably the most popular retailer and operator of discount stores. The company was founded by Sam Walton in 1962 and was originally located in more rural areas to avoid competing with the likes of Sears and Kmart. Walmart quickly became one of the largest grocers in America and places emphasis on “saving people money so they can live better.” Walmart explains that it has around 10,500 retail units in 24 different countries and employs around 2.3 million associates, with 1.6 million of those being in the U.S alone.

Drug Testing Policies

Walmart does conduct drug tests but only under certain circumstances. The company does not require potential employees to take a drug test unless they are applying to work in a safety-sensitive role. Other than that, Walmart does require employees to sign an agreement that authorizes the company to conduct random drug testing, testing after an incident has occurred, and testing when drug use is suspected of affecting the employee’s performance and/or behavior. Walmart uses urine drug tests that are sent to a lab for testing.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

Walmart does not appear to have any accommodations for MMJ patients and has even made headlines for firing employees who used cannabis for medicinal purposes. In one case, an employee who had been working there for around eight years was fired for consuming cannabis to help manage her arthritis and shoulder pain before she went to bed. Similarly, another employee was fired for legally consuming cannabis for his pain. This means that MMJ patients should be aware that their legal consumption may still result in employment termination.

Union Representations

Walmart’s view on unionization is not the clearest. The corporation stated, “While a union may represent its members who work for other employers or competitors in the retail commerce industry well, Walmart believes that if its values and beliefs are applied there is no real or marked advantage to joining a union.” However, actions speak louder than words. The Walrus reported that employees at Quebec Walmart “made history by unionizing their store,” but “six months later, management shut it down.” In fact, Upworthy explains that there are six “creepy” things Walmart does to stay union-free, including having a hotline for managers to report union activity, having a playbook for stopping union drives, and hiring defense contractors to spy on activist workers.

Amazon

Amazon is a large online retailer and cloud service provider that originally started out by selling books online. Amazon has since “morphed into an internet-based business enterprise” guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and now employs around 1.1 million people in America alone. According to the company’s website, “Amazon is a place where smart, passionate people obsess over customers and innovate on their behalf.”

Drug Testing Policies

Amazon used to disqualify potential candidates and terminate employment for those who tested positive for drugs, including cannabis. However, the corporation has since announced that it will not be including cannabis in its drug testing and will instead conduct impairment checks while continuing to test for all drugs and alcohol after an incident. Pre- and post-employment drug testing involves mouth swab tests. While THC is no longer being actively tested for, Amazon reserves the right to take action if cannabis use is impacting your performance and behavior.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

Much like Walmart, Amazon does not appear to have accommodations for medical marijuana patients and has also made headlines for terminating the employment of an MMJ patient. Once again, MMJ patients working at Amazon need to be careful despite the fact that cannabis may not specifically be tested for.

Union Representations

Amazon allows union representations and recently voted on whether employees should join the Amazon Labor Union, which the majority voted in support of. 2022 is the first year that most of Amazon’s American workers voted in favor of joining a union.

Uber

Uber is a well-known transportation service, whether it’s delivering you to your destination or bringing goods to your doorstep. Uber began as Ubercab and was founded by Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009. Uber explains, “It started as a simple idea: what if you could request a ride from your phone? But what began as just a thought quickly grew into a global brand focused on helping move you toward opportunity out in the world.” Many are not aware of this, but Uber also works with healthcare providers to help them schedule rides for patients, caregivers, and staff since “millions of Americans miss doctor appointments due to a lack of reliable transportation.”

Drug Testing Policies

Uber requires drug tests as part of a process to identify “which of the drivers are truly serious and dedicated to their profession.” While its drug testing policy is somewhat unclear, it appears that Uber drivers are required to submit the latest copy of their drug test results when registering on their Independent Drivers Consortium application and are subject to random selection for drug testing. Potential employees may also be subject to a drug test depending on location and position. What kind of drug tests Uber conducts remain unclear and Uber still faces many complaints of intoxicated drivers.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

Uber appears to have no accommodations for MMJ patients, nor are there any reports of employees being fired as a result of consuming cannabis. Considering the fact that there is inconsistent information available on Uber’s drug policies, MMJ patients should be wary.

Union Representations

Unlike the information available on its drug policies and MMJ patient accommodations, Uber’s union representation situation is clear. Uber has been described as the first in its industry to ensure that its drivers have full union representation. As for its other employees, Uber does recognize their union representatives.

IBM

International Business Machines (IBM) is a company that discovers, designs, and develops advanced information technology and translates that into value for its clients through consulting services. IBM conducts business in over 171 countries and was founded in 1911, making it one of the oldest corporations on this list. Inventions the company is responsible for include automated teller machines (ATMs), floppy disks, hard disks, magnetic stripe cards, etc. IBM has more than 345,000 employees across the world and is considered to be one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

Drug Testing Policies

IBM reportedly does not conduct drug tests either before or during employment. However, should IBM see or receive reports about someone consuming or dealing with substances during work hours or on work property, management will take action. They will also perform drug tests if the consumption is visibly affecting performance and behavior or violating the company’s standard of conduct.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

While there may not be accommodations specific to MMJ patients, IBM does leave enough room for MMJ patients to consume without having to worry about jeopardizing their job—as long as their quality of work is maintained and their behavior remains in check.

Union Representations

IBM does not recognize any union representations in America but recognizes several trade unions in Europe and Australia in a limited capacity. A book by Gregor Gall states, “As far as their own situation in IBM was concerned, they simply felt that the union representation could bring no material benefits. They were confident that their terms and conditions of employment could not be bettered, and they were satisfied with the individual bargaining relationships they had with their managers.” However, employees are urging for a union and engage in protests and meetings to advocate for change, reports CWA Union. They have even formed “a national-affiliated organization – Alliance@IBM – to address workplace concerns and to organize for eventual union recognition and bargaining rights…”

Apple

Apple is one of the most popular manufacturers of personal computers, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, etc. The company was founded in 1976 by two college dropouts, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, and operated out of Jobs’ garage. In August 2018, Apple became the first publicly traded company to be valued at $1 trillion and now has more than 154,000 employees worldwide. Apple’s corporate mission is “to bring the best personal computing products and support to students, educators, designers, scientists, engineers, businesspersons and customers in over 140 countries around the world.”

Drug Testing Policies

Apple does not conduct drug tests on its employees. Much like Google, Apple reportedly believes that “what you do on your personal time is your business as long as you don’t bring it to work and as long as it doesn’t affect your job performance.” This is not very surprising since Jobs was known to consume cannabis recreationally in order to boost his creativity and innovation.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

Apple does not appear to have MMJ patient-specific accommodations, but employees need not be concerned about jeopardizing their jobs by testing positive for cannabis. MMJ patients just need to make sure their performance and behavior are in alignment with company standards and police. One indirect benefit for MMJ patients includes the fact that Apple allows cannabis-based applications to operate in the App Store, which MMJ patients can benefit from.

Union Representations

Apple has taken somewhat of an objective stand on union representation. Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s vice president of retail and people, stated that it is equally the employees’ right to join a union as it is not to join a union. However, TechCrunch reports that Apple has been accused “of illegal union-busting tactics” before and that Applie is working with the firm that is pushing Starbucks’ anti-union move. Elections were held in June this year for unionization, and the cause won. What happens now remains to be seen.

FedEx

FedEx, or Federal Express Corporation, is one of the most well-known transportation-based e-commerce services and is especially known for its efficient air delivery service and overnight options. FedEx explains that its founder and CEO, Frederick W. Smith, designed its system in 1965, and its operations were established in 1973. Smith reportedly drew up the company’s plans in a paper while attending Yale University. The company was initially designed as a system for urgent deliveries but now delivers over 6.6 million packages daily. FedEx has over 289,000 employees worldwide and is acquiring other corporations, such as TNT Express, as it continues expanding.

Drug Testing Policies

FedEx does conduct urine drug tests under various conditions. The drug tests are conducted pre-employment, randomly every six months or so, and following workplace accidents. FedEx is strict with its testing and even stipulates in the employee handbook that any person under the influence of a controlled substance at work or who has tested positive for an illicit substance may be charged with a felony.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

FedEx appears to be firm in its decision to prohibit all controlled substances, as the company does not have any accommodations for MMJ patients and reportedly does not hire people with MMJ cards. MMJ patients should avoid working for FedEx altogether.

Union Representations

Freightwaves explains that FedEx remains non-union except for around 5,000 unionized pilots that came as part of the package of acquiring the Flying Tiger Line cargo airline in 1988. FedEx’s non-unionized status has not been easy to maintain, and upper management has had to fight against efforts to introduce union representation. However, the efforts were beaten by persuading the employees that “wages, benefits, working conditions and an open-door relationship makes third-party bargaining units irrelevant.”

CVS Health

Consumer Value Stores, or CVS Health, was founded in 1963 by Stanley Goldstein, Sidney Goldstein, and Ralph Hoagland. CVS, now CVS Health, is a healthcare provider that owns CVS pharmacy, CVS Caremark, and Aetna. The first CVS store reportedly only sold health and beauty products, but the company has now expanded to around 300,000 employees in its stores, pharmacies, medical insurance offices, etc. While CVS Health is not as common of a household name as Apple, it’s worth around $247 billion and is one of America’s largest companies.

Drug Testing Policies

Yes, CVS Health tests its employees for drug use. This corporation is reportedly strict on its zero-tolerance for alcohol and drugs. The drug tests are urine-based and are conducted pre-employment, when being considered for a promotion, randomly, and where there is reasonable suspicion of an employee’s controlled substance and alcohol use. CVS is so strict on substances that it has even stopped selling cigarettes and vapes despite not testing employees for nicotine.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

While there are no accommodations for employees who are MMJ patients, CVS is one of few pharmacies that will fill your cannabis prescription but not your opioid one. While CVS will not hire anyone with an MMJ card, the company is doing a lot for the medical cannabis industry and has even “partnered up with CBD product manufacturers that are complying with applicable laws and that meet CVS’s high standards for quality,” reports Pain News Network.

Union Representations

Simply put, CVS Health is not unionized, but it appears that some of the stores are getting union contracts. John R. Durso, president of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, stated, “We are extremely disappointed and frustrated that CVS has shown a total disregard for the men and women working at the CVS in Flatbush from the time that these workers voted to unionize…There has been a precedent set by UFCW Locals on the West Coast for a strong union contract that provides workers at those CVS stores with living wages, paid time off and a number of other benefits that the company is denying the workers in Flatbush. This has left us to ask why California and Oregon but not New York?”

Walgreens Boots Alliance

Walgreens Boots Alliance houses health and beauty retailers Walgreens and Boots. In 1849, John Boot opened the first Boots store in Nottingham, United Kingdom, and the company has grown to become “an integrated healthcare, pharmacy and retail leader serving millions of customers and patients…” Walgreens Boots Alliance has more than 315,000 employees and a presence in nine countries. The corporation has a current net worth of around $33 billion after having made its first billion in 1975. Its mission statement is to “help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives” and its stated purpose is to “inspire more joyful lives through better health.”

Drug Testing Policies

Walgreens Boots Alliance does test for drug use. Potential employees can expect to be tested before getting hired, and current employees get tested throughout employment. The saliva-based test is conducted randomly, when there is reasonable suspicion, and after an incident.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

Unfortunately, Walgreens Boots Alliance does not make accommodations for MMJ patients, and unlike CVS Health, it appears to have no interest in the medical cannabis industry. While it is never great to know there is one less opportunity available to you as an MMJ patient, it is important to remember that corporations are under no obligation to accommodate MMJ patients—especially in high-risk environments like pharmacies.

Union Representations

In Walgreens’ statement on unions, the company explains that it feels “strongly that labor unions do not serve the best interests of our individual employees or the company as a whole.” However, the corporation does support individuals’ rights to join or decline union membership as they choose. It should also be noted that the corporation has to operate within U.K. legislation, where trade union laws and labor relations are different.

Pfizer

Pfizer is a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation that was established in 1849 by Charles Pfizer and Charles Erhart. Pfizer states that it is relentless in the “pursuit of breakthroughs that change patients’ lives” and that its employees “innovate every day to make the world a healthier place.” In 1906, its sales exceeded $3 million, and the corporation now has a net worth of over $289 billion. Pfizer has roughly 79,000 employees in around 101 countries around the world.

Drug Testing Policies

Pfizer does conduct drug tests and appears to be just as strict as CVS health. Pfizer explains that drug tests “are mandatory for all new contingent workers who perform work at a Pfizer location and who are issued a permanent Pfizer site badge.” The company mandates that the urine test be performed no earlier than 30 days prior to the employee’s start date and that anyone who fails the drug screening must not be allowed to engage with Pfizer. Just like other corporations that test, Pfizer will conduct urine tests randomly, after an incident, and when there is reasonable suspicion.

MMJ Patient Accommodations

While Pfizer does not appear to make accommodations for employees who are medical cannabis patients, the company is working on developing cannabinoid-based treatments. Still, this does nothing for potential employees who are also MMJ patients.

Union Representations

Pfizer is not unionized and is working hard to keep it that way. Catherwood Library explains that Pfizer was accused of practices that are “akin to the ‘yellow dog’ contracts of the early part of the last century, in which employees were forced to agree not to unionize.” However, the fight for union representation lives on.

What to Know About Drug Testing

Although it’s probably wise to avoid applying to workplaces that drug test and instead opt for more cannabis-friendly ones, that may not always be an option. And even if you get to skip pre-employment testing, there’s always the chance that your employer will require a test following an incident. As a cannabis user, it’s important to know how the various THC tests work in case one pops up. If you’re not a heavy consumer, you might even be able to get through your test scot-free depending on the type.

Check out these resources for everything you need to know about drug testing:


Although employee cannabis testing is still a part of many workplace drug policies, more and more companies are amending those policies to be more tolerant of people who consume cannabis legally. If you depend on cannabis for medical needs, make sure to always be aware of your current or potential company’s stance on the plant. Hopefully, there will come a day when all employers must accommodate medical cannabis patients.

Post Your Comments

Bill Pigman says:

July 26, 2022 at 12:18 pm

You. limited your survey. to Fintech and drug stores. Those who work. or repair heavy. machinery, big trucks etc. have much different rules . Also factory assembly lines. I know a guy who captains a large. oil super tanker ship. three. months. on and three months.off . He mokes. MJ for 2/6 months . He has. to be 100% “clean” for 30 days o pass the Captain test . had. a similarly cycled job. , and, in retrospect, . it was. a good idea to spend that time off the weed.

Reply
Lo says:

July 26, 2022 at 4:27 pm

what in the word salad?

Reply
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