No Drug Testing In The Workplace

1214 words - 5 pages

Is it appropriate for employers to test staff for drugs or alcohol? How reliable are these results? Why should some one invade your privacy? Do drug testing determine your skills level for a job? What do drug testing in the work force prove? The arguments against drug testing are it is excessively invasive, may damage relations between employers and employees, and could hamper the recruitment and retention of good staff. In 1986 the Regan administration recommended a drug-testing program for employers. In 1991 The Omnibus Transportation Employee testing act of 1991 were passed. It required mandatory drug testing in trucking and other industries. Over the past 25 years drug testing in the military has increase. Today, approximately 62% of all employers in the US have mandatory drug testing program. Drug testing in the work force have been a very controversial topic ever since. Drug testing should not be in the workplace since it does not measure on the job impairment, do not prevent accidents and is an invasion of privacy.
There is no clear evidence that drug testing at work has a significant deterrent effect. Drug testing is not a measure of current intoxication and will reveal information about drug use that can have no impact on safety, productivity or performance. Drug testing is designed to detect and punish conduct that is usually engaged in off-duty and off the employer's premises - that is, in private. Employers who conduct random drug tests on workers who are not suspected of using drugs are policing private behavior that has no impact on job performance. Someone may test positive after taking a drug days, weeks or months before. People not generally required to organize their lives to maximize their productivity at work, and employers do not have a direct law enforcement function. The term 'drug testing' refers to the analysis of biological material to detect drugs or their metabolites in the body. The issue of drug testing is complex and has scientific, ethical, economic, legal and social dimensions.(Durham)
However, the questions that it raises are not simply technical ones for the relevant experts. They include questions about the rapidly changing nature of work and leisure in the modern world; the balance between the interests of employers and the individual privacy of employees; and the relationship between substance misuse and workplace stress. Organizations cannot require staff or prospective staff to organize their lives in such a way that they maximize their productivity at work. Sociable drinking, late nights and childcare responsibilities, for example, can all impact on performance at work? The private activities of employees are a legitimate concern only if they impact on performance to a degree that exceeds. They may reveal that drugs were used weeks or months previously, and cannot distinguish one-off users from people with serious dependency problems. There is a problem of 'false positives', with some legally available...

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