Is @latimes really in a position to lecture sports officials for the Sha’Carri Richardson suspension when @latimes still drug-tests new employees for marijuana use? @latguild has demanded an end to this archaic corporate policy. The time is now. https://t.co/i1SOlCaZVF
— Matt Pearce 🦅 (@mattdpearce) July 7, 2021
Current and former L.A. Times staff say it’s hypocritical to test some employees for cannabis while allowing others to cover the industry and consume cannabis on the job. Reporters that spoke to L.A. TACO for this story said they find the policy inconsistent and ineffective at deterring people from consuming substances while on the job (since employees are not regularly tested). Instead, they say it puts new hires on edge and possibly even discourages people from applying for positions with The Times in the first place.
In a statement, Hillary Manning, spokesperson for The Times, confirmed that the company currently tests for cannabis “for positions that require the operation of a motor vehicle as a regular and customary part of the job or require the operation or repair of mechanical equipment or heavy machinery.” Manning also confirmed that reporters who cover “recreational cannabis consumption are allowed to consume cannabis products for reporting purposes.”
Manning declined to comment on what other substances The Times tests for or what happens if someone tests positive. “While we do not currently plan to change our policy, we remain open to reevaluating it,” Manning said. “We regularly review our employment policies with the interests, well-being, and safety of our employees in mind and to ensure we’re in compliance with OSHA regulations and local, state, and federal laws in all of the communities where we operate.”
“This is not exactly a big secret in our newsroom,” Matt Pearce, President of the L.A. Times Guild, told L.A. TACO during an interview. “The guild has protested the company’s outdated policy for the past year.”