Why Amazon is easing its screening policies for pot

HR boss says company has reinstated eligibility for ex-workers or applicants who were fired or deferred during screenings

Why Amazon is easing its screening policies for pot

Amazon is stepping up its push for federal legislation to legalize marijuana after it relaxed its screening policies.

According to a report on CNBC, the retail company released a blog post by its HR boss Beth Galetti, who wrote that the company has “reinstated the employment eligibility” for former employees and applicants who were fired or deferred during random or pre-employment marijuana screenings.

She said: “Pre-employment marijuana testing has disproportionately affected communities of color by stalling job placement and, by extension, economic growth, and we believe this inequitable treatment is unacceptable.”

Amazon had already announced it would no longer screen its workers for marijuana, while the only job candidates it will screen for the drug are for positions regulated by the Department of Transportation, such as truck drivers and heavy equipment operators.

Read more: ‘Your choice’: Salesforce to help relocate employees amidst abortion law in Texas

It said it relaxed its standards after recognizing that a growing number of states are legalizing cannabis, Galetti said. She also believes it will help lure more job applicants in an increasingly tight labor market.

“Amazon’s pace of growth means that we are always looking to hire great new team members, and we’ve found that eliminating pre-employment testing for cannabis allows us to expand our applicant pool,” Galetti said, with the company having embarked on a hiring spree since the onset of the pandemic.

Amazon supports the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, which aims to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, expunge criminal records and invest in impacted communities. Galetti added that Amazon also recently endorsed a similar bill, called the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act.

Read more: Amazon to recruit 40,000 new workers in September

Meanwhile, Amazon has announced its plans to hire 125,000 employees in hundreds of cities and towns across America on top of the 40,000 corporate and technology jobs already announced.

The roles in fulfillment and transportation offer an average starting wage of more than $18 per hour—and up to $22.50 per hour in some locations. The company also provides full-time employees with comprehensive benefits, worth an additional $3.50 per hour. They include health, vision, and dental insurance, 401(k) with 50% company match, up to 20 weeks paid parental leave, and Amazon's Career Choice program, in which the company will pay full college tuition for its front-line employees as part of a $1.2 billion investment to expand education and skills training for its U.S. workforce.

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