COURT RULES PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG TESTING DOES NOT VIOLATE PRIVACY
The West Virginia Supreme Court recently upheld Wal-Mart’s practice of drug testing job applicants. In Baughman v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the court ruled that the store did not invade the privacy of Stephanie Baughman by requiring that she submit to a drug test when she applied for a job.
According to the court, a job applicant has a lower expectation of privacy than an employee. Employers regularly perform background tests, call references, or require pre-employment medical examinations. Therefore, the judges ruled that pre-employment drug testing was not per se an invasion of privacy.
Noting that its decision did not address the procedures, methods or scope of Wal-Mart’s drug testing policies, the court stated that the fairness of any testing policy should be evaluated on the procedures and whether they allow for the applicant’s right to a copy of the test results, to request confirmatory tests, and to challenge the results.
DRUG FREE PENNSYLVANIA CONDUCTS FIRST MEDIA LITERACY SEMINAR
Adolescents spend three to eight hours of their day watching, reading and hearing media outside of the classroom. Yet, how do we know if this age group can read between the lines or determine an ad’s message from news coverage?
Today’s youth needs to be capable of understanding, interpreting and analyzing media messaging, especially as it relates to drugs and alcohol. To help, Drug Free Pennsylvania conducted a full-day seminar called The Media Straight Up! for teachers at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Enola on March 3, 2004. Working through educators, this program teaches students how to critically evaluate the drug and alcohol information they receive from today’s media so they can make healthy informed choices.
MAJORITY OF ADULTS DRINK ALCOHOL
Sixty percent of U.S. adults drink alcohol and up to 20 percent are binge drinkers (five or more drinks daily), according to a new National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report on American health habits.
NCHS reports that six in 10 adults surveyed were current drinkers in the 1999-2001 study period, while 25 percent were lifetime abstainers. In contrast, 23 percent of Americans are smokers and half said they never touched a cigarette. The study also found that 22 percent of U.S. adults are obese (20 percent or more over ideal weight) and an additional 35 percent were overweight.
According to study results, nearly one-third of adults were classified as light drinkers (three or fewer drinks a week) and five percent reported they were heavy drinkers (seven or more drinks per week for women and 14 for men). Among all adults, 19 percent said they smoked daily, averaging a pack a day. More than 40 percent said they tried to quit in the past year. Men and women were equally likely to be obese.
DRUG FREE PENNSYLVANIA ADDS STAFF
Emily Maxwell joined Drug Free Pennsylvania’s professional staff on March 8, 2004 as program director. Ms. Maxwell will be responsible for training, developing and expanding programs and increasing membership in Drug Free Pennsylvania’s Drugs Don’t Work Here program. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and certification in human resources. Previously, she was employed as a training project specialist by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
DOT ENFORCES NEW HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES FOR TRUCKERS
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and state officials began enforcing new hours-of-service rules on March 4, 2004. The rules put safety limits on the number of hours commercial drivers can work and operate trucks each day.
The new regulations provide commercial truck drivers with a work and rest schedule that is more in line with a person’s circadian rhythm and thus is expected to significantly reduce driver fatigue. For example, the new rules allow long haul drivers to drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
FMCSA estimates that the new hours-of-service rules will save 75 lives, prevent 1,326 fatigue-related injuries, and prevent 6,900 property damage-only crashes annually, resulting in a cost savings to the American economy of $628 million a year.