The death of two West Virginia miners earlier this week puts the industry under scrutiny once again. The cause of the accident at the Brody Coal Mine has not been determined yet, but this unfortunate incident is a prime example of why the state and the industry are constantly trying to find ways to protect those who chose to go down into those mines.
A few weeks ago West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed a law that will require employers to report any positive drug tests for individuals associated with safety-sensitive mining positions, including current employees and certified applicants.
Employers have seven days to report positive drug or alcohol tests, a refusal to submit a sample or evidence of adulterated samples.
The law also requires employers to review their substance abuse screening programs to make sure they are testing at the time of employment, when employees change positions and on an annual basis.
Delaware Governor Jack Markell signed a bill this week that will add the nation’s first state to the growing list of municipalities that keep employers from asking about criminal history in the early stages of the hiring process.
The bill only applies to public agencies. Law enforcement and private businesses are exempt. As with similar legislation, employers in the public sector will not be able to ask about an applicant’s prior criminal record or credit history until after the first interview is complete.
While several other Ban the Box laws include private companies seeking government contracts, Delaware’s doesn’t go quite so far. Companies will be told that the state does not ask about criminal history before evaluating an applicant’s qualifications. Contractors will be encouraged to do the same, but banning the box will not be a requirement for winning state contracts.
A federal judge says the city of Key West was violating the Fourth Amendment by requiring job applicants to take drug tests.
Last year, Karen Voss was excited to begin her new job as Recycling Coordinator for the city, but that all changed when she arrived to fill out her HR paperwork. When she was told she had to provide a urine sample for a drug test, Voss refused, saying the city couldn’t demand a test without suspicion. The city revoked the job offer and gave the position to someone else.
The ACLU took the case to court, arguing that the policy treated applicants like suspected criminals. A federal judge declared the city’s policy to be unconstitutional, as it violated their protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. There is no word on whether Voss has been offered another opportunity.
Jennifer Gladstone is a news anchor and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in front of the camera. She's worked in several markets, large and small, and has performed nearly every task needed in a newsroom. As EBI’s Screening News Editor, she keeps EBI’s customers and blog subscribers up to date on the latest screening news and legislative alerts affecting companies of all sizes.