Local business man takes stand against drugs

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com
In a time where statistics show that drug use is on the rise, one local business man is taking a stand to ensure his employees have a safe working environment and his customers a safe place to do business.
"We have a mandatory drug testing policy and we've had it since 1988," said Steve Grindstaff, owner of Grindstaff Chevrolet. "When someone fills out an application and is interviewed, we take them right then to get them drug tested."
In addition to drug screening all potential employees, the drug policy at Grindstaff Chevrolet also allows for random drug testing of employees and drug testing of employees who show signs of being under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. Grindstaff stated that he conducts random drug screenings of his employees about three times a year by placing their names in a large bowl and then drawing 10 or 12 names out.
Over the years, several people have been fired from the business for failing random drug tests, Grindstaff said. When an employee fails the drug test, depending on the circumstances, they have the option to quit or they will be terminated.
For a while, a third option existed which would give an employee a chance to continue working for the company after failing a drug screening. "If they stay, they have to be tested three times a quarter at my choosing and they have to pay the cost," Grindstaff said.
According to Grindstaff, he allowed one employee to have that second chance, only to have them fail drug screenings again. "I will never give another employee a second chance if I catch them on drugs," he said. "I did it one time but I will never do it again."
Instituting a "zero-tolerance" drug policy was not a business choice for Grindstaff, but rather a personal one. "We have never publicized it as a public image. It's my image. It's my demand. It's the kind of people I want to surround myself with," he said. "I don't believe in drugs. I think they are a detriment to society. I think they are killing our kids."
Another reason for the zero-tolerance policy is to provide a safe environment at the business for employees, customers and visitors. "My kids are here a lot of the time and I don't want that kind of filth (drugs) around my children and grandchildren," Grindstaff said.
According to Grindstaff, having a strict drug policy for his employees also helps to make the customer feel at ease when doing business with the company by knowing that the people they are dealing with have integrity and a strong character. "They won't have to worry about the salesman lying to them to get a big commission to go get a fix."
Despite the best efforts, Grindstaff stated that he knows some people may slip through the cracks of his drug testing policy. "Can I say that no one who works here uses drugs? No, I cannot say that. No one can say that," he said. "But we try very hard to make sure we are 100 percent drug free."