Business and Ethics
The use of illegal drugs is not something this is uncommon in the USA, drug abuse is costing organizations billions of dollars of profit. Hence the option of drug testing is seen as a dream come true for organizations. Employers can’t just do drug testing because they feel that it’s the best thing for them to do, they will have to prove the appropriateness of this testing. They will have to prove that doing this is essential as the job can’t be done by a person who takes drugs and will interfere in his abilities to perform the job efficiently.
Nowadays the employees are more than aware about their rights to privacy and will go to great lengths in order to attain it. They will take grave actions against a company that will ask them questions relating to their drug taking history if the question isn’t related to the job. So the employers have to be aware about these issues and should learn how to tackle it with wisdom as one wrong move can ruin their reputation in the market forever. There is major risk in taking drug test that the company can’t justify to be job related.
Employees can file a lawsuit against the company and gain even millions of dollars if they can justify that the drug testing violated their rights to privacy. The law to drug testing is quite ambiguous it highlights that the employees should be given their confidentiality, and the public safety should be a source of concern for the employers.
So according to the law drug testing can be only carried out if the employer can prove that it is essential for the health and safety of the public or if the performance of the employees is really being hindered. On the other hand the illegal supplying of drugs or consuming drugs at the workplace is a crime and the employers should take action against that.
Having an employee working for you who takes drugs is a huge problem. Drugs affect the health of the staff which in turns decreases their productivity. An employee who takes drugs may not only be a danger to himself but also to the people he works with. So it is believed that to attain the greater good for a greater number of people, that is, the utilitarian approach should be applied and drug testing should be enforced.
The practical testing of the drugs amongst employees serves to benefit a large number of people. In case of a pilot if we consider his privacy more important we can be endangering the lives of hundreds of people, hence if we do invade the privacy of the individual with the intention of not putting the lives of the general public at risk. According to the utilitarian approach we are doing the right thing.
The testing that is done presently in organizations brings out a positive result even for the officially permitted drugs, which are usually medically prescribed by doctors. Moreover they also do not accurately reveal when the employee had actually taken the drugs, also it can not differentiate between those employees who are highly depended on drugs and those who are not. The misleading results lead to unreliable recommendations to be drawn out. As a result the procedure of the testing should nevertheless be very well planned; the labs where drug testing takes place should be well equipped and its results should be 100% correct, no room of error is acceptable.
However in must jobs the consumption of drugs doesn’t affect the performance of the employees. In most cases better management and environment does lead to increased productivity amongst the staff, therefore the management should not only consider drugs as the only source for inefficiency from the employees side at the workplace but there could be several other reasons associated with declining performance of the staff. The management should work towards increasing the morale of the employees and coordinate with them even if they have a drug problem to assist them being freed of drugs forever.
The employees should be communicated why the test is essential and what good will it brings for them. There should also be counseling for people who have drug problem; they should be helped by their employers to lead a healthier life. Otherwise it would lead to a greater cost of the company, that is the inefficient performance of the staff due to decrease in employee spirits. That would hurt the business even more that is why the management should be careful with how they are put into practice procedures.
In those occupations where drug testing is vital for health and safety reasons the employers should not step back to conduct drug test of employees. Besides this there is no validation for drug testing, it merely shows the invasion of privacy of the employees. Even productivity cannot be rightfully explained through drug testing, better management is a more appropriate manner to enhance performance. Although even when drug testing takes place it should be conducted in a fair and transparent manner, that is the employees should be completely satisfied with the company’s drug testing policy, or else it will lead to dissatisfied workforce.
MacDonald, S. “‘The role of drugs in workplace industries: Is testing appropriate?” Journal of drug issues 4 (1995): 703-722.
Morris, Aaron. “TO DRUG TEST OR NOT TO DRUG TEST — AN EMPLOYER’S DILEMMA.” Morris and Stone. 7 Jul 2008 <http://www.toplawfirm.com/drugtest.html>.
“Drug testing in the workplace: Summary conclusions of the Independent Inquiry into Drug Testing at Work.” Joseph Rowntree Foundation. June 2004. 7 Jul 2008 <http://www.jrf.org.uk/knowledge/findings/foundations/694.asp>.