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Craig Camp

Gordon Ramsay demands drugs tests

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the guy who parties too hard after every  shift is sleeping until 1/2 hour before his  next shift begins, not spending any time with his wife or his kid or his mother or his hobby or his bills or his gym or his dog....the ramifications extend into his personal life, which will then loop back around to affect his professional life.

Thank goodness there are no generalizations here.

that was just and example matthew, no? and i don't think that it's a very far-fetched one either. :unsure:

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

We might need to commisson some sociologists and/or anthropologists. How's the eGullet Research Foundation coming along?

Speaking for oneself is quite different than creating examples about others.

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Drug testing regimes would show up the user who confined their use to their own time, and didn't let it affect their work

When its not shoved up the employer's nose that people are using because its not noticeable at work then drug tests force facts on hm that he'd rather not know about (or at least pretend he doesn't know about) forcing him to "act" when he'd rather not.

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Sounds like you're hoping the lighthouse hasn't been swept away too Kim. Is your sailor boy out at sea?

Yeah, this is a biased generalization that has little basis in reality, but I can see where it comes from. My marriage broke up due to my passion for the industry, the hours, my constant work talk at home while the babies cried off in the background...The drugs had little effect. If you want Kim, go ahead and start a thread on parental absenteism due to work addiction.


Edited by Chef/Writer Spencer (log)

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Not that I want to promote the use of tobacco, but studies exist that purport to show that cigarette smokers are more productive employees than non smokers. If productivity is a major issue, should you test for nicotine in the urine and fire those who come out negative?


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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the guy who parties too hard after every  shift is sleeping until 1/2 hour before his  next shift begins, not spending any time with his wife or his kid or his mother or his hobby or his bills or his gym or his dog....the ramifications extend into his personal life, which will then loop back around to affect his professional life.

Thank goodness there are no generalizations here.

that was just and example matthew, no? and i don't think that it's a very far-fetched one either. :unsure:

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

We might need to commisson some sociologists and/or anthropologists. How's the eGullet Research Foundation coming along?

Speaking for oneself is quite different than creating examples about others.

Matthew, FYI, I was speaking for myself. Quite.

But the intent was to point out that severe substance abuse can't be "contained" as well as many people think..it spills over into other areas, and then affects the person in every aspect of their life...

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Speaking for oneself is quite different than creating examples about others.

it wasn't clear that kimwb was speaking for herself. rather, i think, the example stands. i've known more than a few chefs/restaurant staff that have experienced just this. and i bet you do too. :wink:

edit: ok, kimwb was speaking from experience. but my point still stands. speaking from experience is surely more valid than speculation.


Edited by tommy (log)

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Not that I want to promote the use of tobacco, but studies exist that purport to show that cigarette smokers are more productive employees than non smokers. If productivity is a major issue, should you test for nicotine in the urine and fire those who come out negative?

If productivity's a major issue then eGullet has a worse effect on me than any illegal drug. Go away all of you and let me get some work done.

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If you want Kim, go ahead and start a thread on parental absenteism due to work addiction.

But my point was not about parental absenteeism due to work addiction, but due to substance abuse.

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Sure, blame eGullet for ruining your life. Typical junkie.


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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I would like to second what others have said about this being a very interesting thread with points well made by many. I have found it interesting also to read several people condemning certain substances while claiming that nothing is wrong with their drug of choice. I wonder what Spencer would think about toking on the job if he were not a pot smoker himself. On a different but related level, one wonders what Tony B would think about the negative effect of habitual tobacco smoking on one's ability to taste and smell effectively in the kitchen were he not a dedicated cigarette smoker.

I have tried a lot of different drugs over the years, coming close to having problems with a few and eventually becoming bored with most of them. The big problem that I have with most of the less-accepted drugs (marijuana, cocaine, LSD, etc.) as opposed to the more-accepted ones (alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, etc.) is that, in my experience, you can't "just have a little" of the less-accepted ones. You can have a cup of coffee, a cigarette, a drink of beer and still be more or less unimpaired. You might be a tiny bit more relaxed or awake, but nothing that you would describe as a noticably altered state of consciousness. On the other hand, you can't do a bowl of marijuana, a rock of crack, a hit of acid and not find yourself in a noticably altered state of consciousness. Indeed, if these drugs did not produce a noticably altered state of consciousness, people wouldn't take them. I always found it strange that some people think it's perfectly okay to smoke up some pot every day before work when these very same people would be concerned to learn that a friend was drinking to inebriation every day before work. I find it strange because these are fundamentally the same thing.

My experience is that people just don't tend to produce great art while under the influence of consciousness-altering drugs (and this would include alcohol when enough is consumed). Sometimes they produce the great art after experimenting with a consciousness-altering drug, and sometimes during lucid periods over a long period of habitual use... but almost never while under the influence of the drug. Largely what we get are monumental piles of shit that the artist thought were profound while on his/her drug of the moment. I have to wonder how this could fail to also be the case in the context of a high-level professional kitchen. I've been high plenty of times, and can't imagine exercising sound judgment and doing good work in that condition. It is also my general observation that most of the people who aren't bothered by working around people on a certain drug are those who also like to use that drug. This is echoed in Spencer's tolerance/acceptance/promotion of working on THC but not alcohol (I don't mean to single you out, Spencer, but you are the strongest advocate I've read here).

All this said, I am absolutely not anti-drug, and indeed I am strongly for the legalization of many drugs. Certainly there is no reason marijuana shouldn't be legal. But, to echo what I think was one of the best comments so far, it is a matter of controlling the quantities and the frequencies.


--

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Not that I want to promote the use of tobacco, but studies exist that purport to show that cigarette smokers are more productive employees than non smokers. If productivity is a major issue, should you test for nicotine in the urine and fire those who come out negative?

I'd like to see those studies. Must be sponsored by FOREST. Smokers spend oodles of time doing nothing more productive than sitting around smoking. Add that up over a year in an organization and you'll find it comes to hundreds of hours that they're being absolutely unproductive compared to non-smokers.

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edit:  ok, kimwb was speaking from experience.  but my point still stands.  speaking from experience is surely more valid than speculation.

Well, we had a cat. :biggrin:

Seriously, I feel we were lucky, as it never got to be severe abuse, but it ws certainly the lifestyle, some of the habits etc that were expressed by many on this thread... and I think its important to point out how the lifestyle affects the person ( and their families) as a whole, not just the person as a cook.

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Should there be mandatory drug testing for everyone--or is it just okay with you guys for cooks and workers in heavy industry?

Should, publishers and editors for instance, under this bold new principle of "protecting workers" have to piss in a cup at random intervals--and before hiring? If not--why not? Certainly publishing is a business where substance abuse is not exactly unknown.. Fair's fair, right?

Some of you seem to have no problem sharing the history of every substance you have had in your body with the private sector--something I doubt you'd be so eager to allow of the police. (For good reason) . Do you really want every potentail employer to know that much about you? Do you not find something grim and soul destroying. maybe a little undignified and well..Fritz Lang's Metropolis..about the prospect of workers lining up to piss in a cup? In order to work? In order to stay employed? You guys get all cranky just cause we listen to all your phone calls out at Cheltenham--and yet you want to let your boss know when you popped your last valium, smoked your last joint, drank too much, started slathering on Rogaine or began taking Viagra?

And WHICH workers--in what sectors will end up obediently and regularly handing in their still-warm samples? Will EVERYONE--across the board have to be drug free? Or, more likely just "some"? And which of these options would be worse? Will drugs and substance abuse continue to be okay for "artists" and "writers" and "intellectuals"? Naturally, the wealthy will continue to be able to careen about in their expensive vehicles snorting coke. No boss to demand a piss test? No problem. Let's remember what "zero tolerance" really means. There's an underlying current here of "drug testing is okay--for THEM. They're too stupid to do drugs. They can't handle them. Now where's my Xanax?"

Is "trust" between employer and employee a vanishing concept?


abourdain

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edit:  ok, kimwb was speaking from experience.  but my point still stands.  speaking from experience is surely more valid than speculation.

Well, we had a cat. :biggrin:

Seriously, I feel we were lucky, as it never got to be severe abuse, but it ws certainly the lifestyle, some of the habits etc that were expressed by many on this thread... and I think its important to point out how the lifestyle affects the person ( and their families) as a whole, not just the person as a cook.

Thanks, Kim.

I was attempting (perhaps poorly) to help keep this thread on track by encouraging specific personal references rather than generalizations.

Best.

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Tonyfinch,

The operative word was "purport."


Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"

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even if they do institute drug-testing regimes, although I find the idea repugnant.

Steve

Could you say why you find it repugnant? I find it a purely common sense response to a growing problem

I would be interested to hear the other side

S

Hi there

My reasons for thinking it's repugnant are essentially those set out by FatGuy, but the most important are:

a) my private life should be that. Private. My employer has very little business saying what I may or may not do when I am not at work, so long as my ability to work is not impaired. Even then, special circumstances may apply--I only want to work for an employer that will cut me some slack from time to time (I'm not a chef, can you tell :wink: ) God knows, the converse certainly applies -- each of my employers has expected extra effort from me from time to time. Impairment of ability to work needs to be broad enough to encompass reputational risk to the employer from things like repugnant illegal activities (but not repugnant legal activities)

b) the practicalities of drug-testing are such that it is unlikely to work particularly effectively, and the chance of a false positive is quite high. Given the potential consequences in terms of loss of earnings, this is a dangerous road for employers to go down if they get it wrong.

Steve

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I am opposed to drugs in the workplace and I am opposed to mandatory drug testing. You treat people like adults ,explain what the rules of the workplace are and expect them to accept them and maintain them. Why does anybody feel they need to shove their off duty pleasures in the faces off the boss?

If you're so out of contol that you must use in the workplace and cannot wait until you're on private time then I see that as one way of defining the fact that you have a problem.

Also you've got to remember that drugs are illegal. Whether they should be or not is another debate but while they are the boss CANNOT allow the premises to be used for illegal purposes without running the risk of being shut down, licences lost, business fucked etc. Why should he put up with that risk just because you've allowed yourself to get to the point where you can't get through a working day without contollong yourself?

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Should there be mandatory drug testing for everyone--or is it just okay with you guys for cooks and workers in heavy industry?

In my book, it's not OK to do across-the-board drug testing. But it does seem reasonable to me that an enmployer who has valid reasons to assume that an employee's work is suffering due to drug use may require that employee to take a drug test. And, if that employee is found to test valid for drugs, I think the employer may decide to periodically retest that individual and potentially terminate him/her given a reasonable number of subsequent positive tests. This comes down to more or less formalizing your "stern talking to" in a way that says "what do you want more... to work in my kitchen/office/orchestra/whatever or to smoke crack? You decide."

Is "trust" between employer and employee a vanishing concept?

Unfortunately it is a vanishing concept on both sides of the question. Employers have less and less reason to trust their employees and employees sure as hell have less and less reason to trust their employers. Think of your own management experience. Do you keep track of every drop of booze, every steak, every pot and pan because you are not afraid that your workers will help themselves to freebees and walk off with things? Think of your employee experience. Do you check your paychecks against the work you performed because you don't think you might be getting screwed?


--

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Perhaps FG and/or someone else with legal education & experience can answer this . . .

How many states have "at will employment" laws?

My thinking is that if "at will employment" is commonplace then why even bother with drug testing? An employer can terminate employees with no specific reason.

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Is "trust" between employer and employee a vanishing concept?

Here's where I contradict myself....a bit

I don't think that drug-testing employees is necessarily a sign of vanishing trust between employers and employees. It must be a question of time and circumstance: I am very happy for airline pilots to be drug tested, but I am unhappy for the same to happen to chefs. Airline pilots don't generally consider this requirement to be an affront to their dignity, any more than most doctors are insulted about the lack of faith shown in them by the public through the legal requirement for them to sign up to a code of conduct. The lack of trust in such situations is not a comment on the worth of any individual person, but a reflection of two things:

a) some people will behave 'badly' from time to time

b) this can potentially cause great damage to others (planes falling from the sky, Harold Shipman etc etc)

Conversely with the first example, I'm not happy for market forces alone to determine which kitchens have good hygiene practices....despite knowing that hygiene regulations can lead to absurdities such as attempts to ban unpasteurised cheese.


Edited by shilly (log)

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The corporation I work for makes everyone who has to visit the clinic for work related injuries take a piss test. It's a liability issue, one I can deal with, though it makes for some rather slow knife work on my part . If I ran a company I'd want to know if the poissonier seared his face because he was high on weed so I could deflect liability, that's just 1+1=2. But mandatory and random drug testing of cooks, chefs etc. is bullshit, and, as stated here many a time, not cost effective. If my sous chef comes in with dialated pupils, fucks temperatures up, let's the staff get away with culinary atrocities, etc. then we're having a sit down in the office. You need to begin the relationship with trust, but if you see it slowly withering away it's time to start expulsion proceedings with a verbal warning--proceeded by an upside down pyramid of documented disciplinary actions. Trust? Yes, but on a short leash.

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If I, as an employer, suspect that an employee might be doing drugs--either in the workplace--or in off hours (to the detriment of work performance), should I be permitted to demand a drug test? That's a lower threshold of evidence than even a cop or MI5. Meaning ANY employer could demand a drug test simply because, in their judgement they SUSPECT someone of using drugs. That's a lot of latitude to give a regional manager for Pret A Manger..

And could this power be abused? As in selective testing and interpretation of results? Yes. Yes it could.

Next comes the polygraph.


abourdain

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All this said, I am absolutely not anti-drug, and indeed I am strongly for the legalization of many drugs. Certainly there is no reason marijuana shouldn't be legal. But, to echo what I think was one of the best comments so far, it is a matter of controlling the quantities and the frequencies. - slkinsey

Well put, we need a controlled environment. I cant stand drugs for my own personal use, which doesnt mean I have never experimented. I have probably done as many drugs as anyone in this forum. But those days left me long ago. We all have reasons for or against drug usage, unfortunately mine are a bit religious. I have a chef friend serving 11 years for getting busted. It wasnt really visiting him behind bars that made me quit. It was watching him slowly ruin his life by not paying bills, borrowing money from dangerous people and not paying it back, and finally becoming addicted. Its a lousy thing to watch especially when the individual is a close friend. But we must learn not only from our own mistakes, but from others along the way.

In spite of my friends demise, I still do believe that all drugs should be legalized. If the system spent more resources and tax dollars on control and treatment we would spend a lot less on incarceration and the "war on drugs". Ignoring the needs and desires of a large portion of individuals is never the answer.


Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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Should, publishers and editors for instance, under this bold new principle of "protecting workers" have to piss in a cup at random intervals--and before hiring? If not--why not? Certainly publishing is a business where substance abuse is not exactly unknown.. Fair's fair, right? 

certainly

Drugs have led to some horrors in Publishing. I mean what but a drug addled mind could have come up with an idea like A COOK'S TOUR?

In all seriousness, I cannot see why trust has to come into it. Those days are gone. That's why we have employment contracts and trbunals etc etc

What people do in their own time is their own business be it taking drugs or fucking sheep. What is not their own business is if they come into work with the sheep still on their back the next day

S

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The corporation I work for makes everyone who has to visit the clinic for work related injuries take a piss test.  It's a liability issue, one I can deal with, though it makes for some rather slow knife work on my part .  If I ran a company I'd want to know if the poissonier seared his face because he was high on weed so I could deflect liability, that's just  1+1=2.  But mandatory and random drug testing of cooks, chefs etc. is bullshit, and, as stated here many a time, not cost effective.  If my sous chef comes in with dialated pupils, fucks temperatures up, let's the staff get away with culinary atrocities, etc. then we're having a sit down in the office.  You need to begin the relationship with trust, but if you see it slowly withering away it's time to start expulsion proceedings with a verbal warning--proceeded by an upside down pyramid of documented disciplinary actions.  Trust?  Yes, but on a short leash.

Great post.


Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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