A new pilot program would deny unemployment benefits to individuals for failing or refusing to take a drug test as part of an application process under a bill approved today by the Michigan House of Representatives.
House Bill 4952, sponsored by state Rep. Ken Goike, would treat a positive drug test or refusal to take a drug test without good cause as a refusal of suitable employment, which disqualifies an individual from receiving unemployment benefits. The measure is not a blanket drug testing program and will only apply to employers who require a drug test at the completion of the interview process. After one year the Legislature will have to revisit the issue and decide whether to reauthorize the program.
“It’s simple: if you aren’t willing and able to accept work, you aren’t qualified for unemployment benefits under the law,” said Goike, R-Ray Township. “Failing a drug test as a condition of employment would mean an individual is not able to accept suitable employment. Individuals need to be responsible for their actions, especially if they are looking for work.”
Goike introduced the bill after hearing from a business in his district that had to turn away over 50 job applicants who failed drug tests as part of the pre-employment process, but remained eligible to claim unemployment benefits.
“These benefits are meant to help people in their time of need, not to support individuals who are unwilling to look for work,” Goike said. “By making individuals take responsibility for their actions, we are also able to save employers money, which will help them create jobs and pay better wages to the workers they currently have.”
HB 4952 now goes to the Senate for consideration.