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Drug tests and background checks?
Thread poster: Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
English to German
+ ...
Feb 4, 2010

Last year, I have worked a few times for a client in the medical field. It was through an agency. The agency informed me now that the client is changing their policy as of 2010. They expect from every translation vendor and their employees stricter than usual confidentiality requirements, drug testing (8 panels) and background checks if they want to continue working for that client. With this work there is no patient information involved. I don't really see a reason or justification for this type of procedure as I am not their employee nor do I ever work on their premises. I am selling a certain good to them. I was a bit astounded by this request and am wondering if anybody (in the US) has had similar experiences with clients. How do you react to a request like this?

Thanks for your input,
Hildegard


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Two points I don't understand Feb 4, 2010

What do you mean by drug testing and background checks? Correct me if I'm wrong, but do you mean that your client requires the translator's drug testing and background checks (i.e. whether the working translator is on drugs like cocaine or heroine, or has a criminal record of misdemeanor or felony in the past)??

 

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Correct Feb 4, 2010

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:
(i.e. whether the working translator is on drugs like cocaine or heroine, or has a criminal record of misdemeanor or felony in the past)??


Hi Yasutomo,
You understood exactly right. Those types of tests.


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
English to German
+ ...
Sorry... Feb 4, 2010



 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
English to German
+ ...
Okay, I am serious again. Feb 4, 2010

Is it possible that the agency pretended to work with inhouse translators only?

 

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They are serious! Feb 4, 2010

Hi Nicole,
My first reaction was exactly the same. But no, they are not working with in house people at all and yes, they are serious about this. I am just glad that I am not alone with my disbelieve.

It was a long day, good night,
Hildegard


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
That's a good one, Nicole. Feb 4, 2010

Nicole Schnell wrote:



I couldn't stop laughing when you pasted the image on the fora.


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:05
Preposterous Feb 4, 2010

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer wrote:

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:
(i.e. whether the working translator is on drugs like cocaine or heroine, or has a criminal record of misdemeanor or felony in the past)??


Hi Yasutomo,
You understood exactly right. Those types of tests.


Hi, Hildegard,

What's the purpose of checking the translator's drug habits (if one has) and criminal records (if one has this one too)? Suppose you have a criminal record of beating up your family member(s), i.e. DV, or if you have a record of murder? Do those criminal records prove that you are a lousy translator? Or even if you are on drugs, does that include drinking and smoking cigarettes? If so, and if they find out that you are a heavy smoker and detect high level of alcohol, nicotine and tar in your body and has a bad breath specific to those kind of people, will they not work with you? I'm very curious...


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:05
French to German
+ ...
Twisted!? Feb 4, 2010

I understand this policy although what follows only is hypothetical. Could it be possible that the end client want to ensure the translators hired by the agency will not use their privileged and confidential information for their own purposes (i.e. satisfying their drug addiction and/or pursuing criminal goals)?
It is really twisted, but that is all I can think of for the moment.


 

lcstranslations  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:05
Member (2010)
Italian to English
well Feb 4, 2010

If they are asking this kind of information, I hope they are also paying a very high rate!

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
English to German
+ ...
I'd say. Per fl. oz., that is. Feb 4, 2010

lcstranslations wrote:

If they are asking this kind of information, I hope they are also paying a very high rate!


If they have the urge, they may feel free to pay astronomical prices per fl. oz. of my urine.


 

Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:05
Member (2007)
German to English
secure govermnemt facilities Feb 4, 2010

I would guess Mr. Krautland's explanation comes closest to the truth.

The only times I've run into these kinds of employment requirements is at secure government facilities. Even if you already hold a security clearance, which entails drug testing and background checks, the facility itself will sometimes require its own tests and checks.

Otherwise, I've learned to think "lawyers and politicians" whenever I see something that looks utterly dysfunctional like this. The client may have a blanket policy for everyone to cover its posterior from the legal and regulatory angles. Is the client perchance doing business in the USA, Ms. Klein-Bodenheimer?

Although the company pays for the tests, it's still a nuisance. My attitude has always been: "humor them or they'll get violent."


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:05
English to German
+ ...
As an employer and outsourcer in the US Feb 4, 2010

You are allowed and encouraged to perform drug tests on any employee who is working on your premises. You are allowed and encouraged to perform a credit history check and / or a check of criminal history, and you MUST check if the co-worker has a permit to work in the United States.

Vendors, however? He, he. Next time I will ask my lawyer, my physician, my chiropractor, my bank teller and my dentist to pee into a cup before I allow them to service me.

I will make sure that a camera team is on hand.



Edited for typo

[Edited at 2010-02-04 07:57 GMT]


 

Rosa Foyle  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
stand up for your rights to privacy! Feb 4, 2010

Hildegard,
Yes, welcome to the land of big brother...... So much for the USA being the land of the free. As an American I can tell you this policy is actually quite common in the US, if you want to be hired as an employee at privately owned corporations (not just for US gov. jobs). If I were you, I would decide how much I want to continue to work for this company. This is an infringement on your personal civil rights. There have been a number of challenges to this requirement in legal circles. I am not being silly when I say I would consider consulting a lawyer with expertise in employment law if you dont want to just cave in and give them a look into your personal life. In my opinion this is a matter of principle, since you are a free-lancer and not an employee.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Wow, free drug tests! Feb 4, 2010

Hildegard Klein-Bodenheimer wrote:
They expect from every translation vendor and their employees stricter than usual confidentiality requirements, drug testing (8 panels) and background checks if they want to continue working for that client.


Wow, free drug tests! Do you get the results of your tests back, or does it go straight to the client and you don't see it? And I really like that free background check too -- these guys are usually good at digging out the weirdest of stuff. Perhaps they can help find some long lost school friends of yours, or family you didn't know you had. I'm assuming you get to see the background check report.

But if not, then I'd say "no".


 
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