The hospital system says this change applies to most positions.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Spectrum Health, one of West Michigan’s top employers, is no longer screening new hires for marijuana. However, this only applies to most positions.
In a statement to 13 ON YOUR SIDE, a spokesperson for the hospital system says:
“To reduce barriers to employment and because recreational marijuana is legal in Michigan, the BHSH System no longer includes THC, or marijuana, in its pre-employment drug screen for most positions. Our patients and community members can rest assured that we are in compliance with applicable laws establishing drug-free workplace requirements and that we will take all necessary measures to create a safe care environment.”
The recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Michigan nearly four years ago.
“It may also reflect changing attitudes toward marijuana in general,” says professor Mark Dotson, with Western Michigan University’s Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.
Dotson says that while marijuana is legal, that doesn’t mean all companies in the state should stop drug testing employees.
“So there are a number of different reasons why employers might prohibit certain activities or discourage certain activities among their employees,” he says.
Dotson says part of the reason companies have drug tests is to protect themselves from liability.
“An employer has to create a safe environment for their employees as well as their customers. And they don’t necessarily know if there’s a problem until they’re sued,” he says.
Dotson hopes there will never be a time when the safe environment at Spectrum Health hospitals is called into question if an employee or patient is injured on the job.
“You better believe that their failure to continue drug testing and to discourage the use of marijuana and to not hire people they know use marijuana will be used against them in that situation,” he says.
In this tight job market, Dotson isn’t surprised Spectrum made the move.
“If you’re going to screen people who smoke marijuana, that’s a real problem for employers these days,” he says.
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