Drug Testing in the Workplace

1739 Words Apr 12th, 2006 7 Pages
Drug Testing in the Workplace:

A Costly Mistake

Abstract

The issue of drug testing in the workplace has sparked an ongoing debate among management. There are many who feel that it is essential to prevent risks to the greater public caused by substance abuse while on the job. However, others believe that the costs far outweigh the benefits and that it is an invasion of privacy. Putting all ethical issues aside, evidence presented in this paper supports the latter. The costs of drug testing are excessive and only a small percentage of employees are actually found to be substance users. Drug testing in the work place has a negative effect on productivity; contrary to what was originally intended. It actually decreases productivity
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Yet another example of how these drug tests are flawed.
The strongest reason for opposing drug testing however, is the invasion of privacy. This occurs primarily in urinalysis, the most common drug screening process. Not only does this violate a person's private life, it can open up, and reveal a number of other ailments that the employee may be suffering and which that individual wishes to hide and keep it to himself. A urinalysis for example can make public such diseases as an employee's heart condition, depression, epilepsy, diabetes, and for women the same test can also confirm whether she is pregnant or not. Each of these conditions is a private and personal manner, and the employer has no right to involve itself in these matters.
Another argument that proponents of drug testing use is the supposed decrease in productivity. Shepard and Clifton (1998) conducted a study of high tech industries and concluded that managers did not feel that drug testing improved productivity. In fact, it found that companies that have drug testing programs actually exhibited lower productivity levels than similar companies that did not drug test. The reason for this could be a possible perceived concept that management does not trust its employees and the relationship between the employer and the employees suffers greatly. This creates an awkward and hostile environment for everyone in the workplace.