Internet commenters rallied behind one worker who refused to take a company’s pre-employment drug test but was offered a job anyways.
In a viral Reddit post published on the popular r/antiwork, Redditor u/Kleverhar (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said they were mid-conversation with a job recruiter when the subject of drug screenings was brought up—and shut down—in a matter of moments.
Titled, “Company wanted me to take a drug test and I told them no but they still offered me the job,” the post has received more than 10,500 upvotes and 600 comments in the last day.
Beginning with the disclaimer that they don’t “need” the job in question, the original poster said their ambivalence was put on full display when the company revealed that they would be subject to screenings before an offer was put on the table.
“They wanted to move forward and said I needed to take a drug test,” OP wrote.
“I said, ‘I don’t take drug tests. What I do in my personal life is my business and does not affect the skills and abilities needed for this position,'” OP continued. “[I don’t know] why I said it. I don’t even do anything. But I think I’m just a little tired of companies digging into my personal business.”
Despite their refusal to take a drug test, the original poster said that two days after speaking with the job recruiter, they received a surprising phone call.
“The company offered me the job,” OP wrote. “Didn’t even bring up the drug test.
“Maybe everyone should push back on these things and companies will learn to stay out of…personal lives,” OP posited.
Like background checks and scans through social media profiles, employers use drug tests to gauge what hired employees and prospective employees are like, and what they do, while off the clock.
While private substance use has long been equated with an inability to perform job-related tasks at work, recent developments within contemporary wisdom and the widespread legalization of recreational cannabis use have sparked a different conversation surrounding drug tests and their viability.
“Drug testing is designed to detect and punish conduct that is usually engaged in off-duty and off the employer’s premises – that is, in private,” the American Civil Liberties Union asserts. “Employers who conduct random drug tests on workers who are not suspected of using drugs are policing private behavior that has no impact on job performance.”
For prospective employees, drug tests are sometimes required to move forward in the hiring process. Prospective employees are not required to agree to those drug tests, but often risk unemployment as a result.
“You have the right to refuse a drug test,” online legal resource NOLO reports. “And the employer has the right to refuse you a job on that basis.”
However, not all applicants who object to drug testing are guaranteed to be turned away, and the original poster is the perfect example.
Throughout the comment section of OP’s viral post, Redditors applauded their firm stance on drug screenings and recounted numerous instances in which their refusal to be tested was similarly rewarded.
“I’m retired now, but I spent 40 years refusing to take a drug test for a job,” Redditor u/VenusRocker wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 3,500 upvotes. “I just don’t think it’s any of the company’s business what I do on my time.
“The most interesting thing is how many companies employed me anyway,” they continued. “Some just ignored the requirement, others found creative ways to not call me an employee…but I never lost a job with a company I wanted to work for due to drug tests.”
Redditor u/ShapePrisitine3027, whose comment has received nearly 2,000 upvotes, speculated that status is largely responsible for who is subject to drug testing—and who isn’t.
“I know of two people who were on gov contract IT work who were also on ‘Do Not Test’ lists with their respective HR departments,” they wrote. “At a certain talent level or work in certain fields, companies know they can’t hold people to drug tests.”
In a separate comment, Redditor u/Tophinity said they turned down a pre-employment drug test much like the original poster, but were stunned to learn why they still received a job offer days after the fact.
“I once applied for a grocery store,” they explained. “They gave me a drug test…[and] I knew I’d fail, so I just never went to get the drug test done.
“A few days later, I got a call from the grocery store telling me that my drug test results had come back clean and they were ready to hire me,” they added. “Still confused by that one to this day.”
Newsweek reached out to u/Kleverhar for comment.