Should Potential Employees Be Automatically Disqualified for Admitting to Prior Drug Use?

Drug Questionnaire courtesy Tim Baker

ALTOONA, PA — A Pennsylvania man is petitioning the federal government due to a regulation that requires applicants for a bus driver position to pass a drug screen and admit whether or not they used any schedule one substances (including marijuana) in the past two years and if they answer yes, in honesty, they will be automatically dismissed from the application and hiring process.

Tim Baker is a reasonable man, though underemployed for more than a year in the economically depressed state of Pennsylvania, but was excited to get the chance to work as a bus driver in his community in Altoona. He took all the right classes and training instruction courses needed and even scored the highest in his class during the process. This would not help him get the job he was likely most qualified for due to a questionnaire that was processed at the time of the physical medical exam portion of the process.

In October, Baker was offered the chance to get the job as a bus driver in his state. After receiving the offer, Baker completed one week of classroom training for the position. He also passed the post-training and his test score was the highest in that particular class. To continue the process, it was required of Baker to take a drug test as well as complete a physical exam. This was the point at which Baker was given a questionnaire to fill out. There was one question in particular that Baker answered honestly, which would disqualify him for the position automatically: "Have you used any illegal substances in the past two years?"

Baker said in his plea to get signatures on his behalf that he was raised by his parents to tell the truth and justice would prevail. He said he feels as though in this case that had not happened after he told the truth about "responsibly" using marijuana, according to his petition circulating online and in social media channels to get signatures to send to the Congress. He said he told the truth because it felt like the right thing to do but did not realize it would automatically disqualify him.

"My parents raised me to always tell the truth, no matter what," Baker said in the petition. "They told me that the arc of justice would always bend toward the honest person."

Federal guidelines prohibit those who use any schedule one substance including marijuana to be excluded from jobs in fields such as public transportation. There continues to be a growing pro-legalization movement in the United States. It is unclear how effective campaigns such as this will be but more and more people are criticizing laws that punish those who consume marijuana, while not applying the same methodology to substances like alcohol or tobacco. The petition below has already generated more than 20,000 signatures over the course of a few weeks.