Drug Test Failure Could Imperil Jobless Benefits

Sep 26, 2013

Jobseekers who fail or refuse to take an employer drug test could face losing their unemployment benefits, under legislation that cleared the state House Thursday.

We have more from The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta.

The idea would be tried out first as a one-year pilot project. Employers would not have to participate, but could choose to report to the state if a job applicant either refuses to take a drug test, or fails one.

Republican state Representative Frank Foster says this would help ensure jobless benefits go to people who are serious about looking for work.

“It’s a workforce development thing,” he says.  “If they’d rather sit home and do drugs, maybe they’re not ready for work, maybe they’re not ready for these benefits.”

Some Democrats, like state Representative Vicki Barnett, say the plan is poorly designed and won’t work as intended.

   “This is putting lipstick on a pig, sir,” she says.

Barnett also says people who face losing benefits for failing a drug test should be offered the option of treatment.