Zero (?) Tolerance

By January 14, 2005General

This is a manufacturing blog, of course, but blogs are given wide latitude to wander into all sorts of semi-related areas. Since we routinely cover workplace issues here, we feel safe wandering into the latest workplace imbroglio, the issue of drug testing in the workplace that is the National Pastime, baseball.

Today’s paper carries news of Major League Baseball’s “get tough” policy on steroids. Having seen the sport suffer a great loss of public confidence and image, they have decided to draw the line and take a zero tolerance against illegal strength-building substances. Yessirree bob, it’s time to get tough.

So what’s the policy? You weak of heart, avert your eyes: a first positive test wins you a whopping 10-day suspension, a second positive test a suspension of 30 days, a third positive test a 60-day hiatus and a fourth positive test a one year ban. All suspensions are without pay, of course. Upon a fifth positive test (everybody still with us…?, this “get tough” policy requires you go to the Commissioner’s office where the same guy responsible for this namby-pamby program will mete out your discipline. He’ll probably make you sit in the corner and wear a funny hat.

Manufacturers deal every day with worker safety and health issues. Those in sensitive jobs are often subject to random drug testing. You can bet the economy doesn’t rely on manufacturers with policies like this, that allow at least five bites at the steroid apple before being sent to the Principals’ office. Wouldn’t it be logical for baseball to at least have a three strikes policy? Even still, three is a long way from zero. Maybe they can change the scoring rules to allow any team with 5 or fewer runs to be scored as a zero, too.

To us, zero tolerance means zero tolerance. Any employer with a zero tolerance policy that allowed at least 5 chances would be a laughingstock. Unfortunately, the odds of baseball changing this rule any time soon are, well, zero.