Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

by : 
Kim Perkins
August 1, 2013

Question: We recently switched to a new worker’s compensation insurance provider because they offer an annual rebate if we don’t have any claims. Now they want us to have every employee fill out a health survey and undergo a drug test. This seems invasive to me. Is this normal? Do you drug test your employees?

Answer: As far as I know, at least in our state, filling out these forms and drug testing employees is a choice. Some insurance companies offer a 5 percent reduction in premiums if you do. I believe the health surveys are optional as well, but please talk to your insurance agent to be certain because laws vary from state to state.

In answer to your second question, no, we do not drug test our employees. My theory is that if employees have an issue with alcohol or drugs that affects their work, we will see it or somehow it will become apparent. Beyond that, I don’t feel it is my business to ask employees what they do in their personal lives. Thankfully, this has not been a problem for us, and I hope that continues.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to