Many employers have zero tolerance for drug testing.  I served in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard for 25 years.  The US Army had a so-called zero tolerance policy for NCO’s and officers.  Any Non-Commissioned officer or commissioned officer caught doing drugs in a drug test would be automatically discharged.  If the offender was an enlisted man, he/she would be given the opportunity to perform drug counseling instead of discharge.  

I did not necessarily believe in the policy, but as a Commander, I always enforced it.  I knew that at some point, some otherwise reliable NCO or officer would test positive.  That was my concern.  If the officer or NCO was one of the good ones and they tested positive, the loss would be the Army’s.  I am not an expert on drug use, but my perception is that some folks use marijuana occasionally.  

Mike Maslanka notes how a coach for the Texas Rangers tested positive, and tendered his resignation.  But, the GM, Nolan Ryan, refused the resignation.  Mike, a management side lawyer, supports that refusal.  He criticizes zero tolerance policies.  He says these sorts of decisions need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Has the employ expressed true remorse, he asks?  Is he an otherwise good performer?  I agree.  A one time mistake, I believed when I was a Commander,  should not deprive the Army of a good NCO, just as true repentance should not cost an employer a good worker.  

A good friend recently tested positive for drug use for a construction company.  He had been there some 20 years.  We can chastise my friend for taking that sort of chance.  But, he was an otherwise very good performer for 20 years plus.  Now, the company is without one of its most experienced hands.  Is the company better off? 

I served in Iraq for 12 months.  I can guarantee that the Army needs all the good NCO’s and officers it can find.  There is no greater stress than war.  Good leaders are essential.  We cannot afford to lose any.  Neither can a good company afford to lose a good employee needlessly.