Drug Testing In Employment Essay, Research Paper
Employment Drug Testing
The use of pre-employment and random drug testing by companies in the United States has grown rapidly during the past decade. Drug testing in the workplace has become an issue of great concern to people on both sides of the employment equation. The increased popularity of drug testing in the workplace, specifically in private sector employment, has created an unclear ?tug-of-war? between the desires of employers and the rights of employees. The controversial issue of drug testing in the workplace presents an interesting conflict of interest between the employers desire to maintain a safe and productive work environment and the employee?s protection of fundamental rights and specifically, the right to privacy.
An employer-employee relationship is basically a contractual relationship. Each has an obligation to uphold in respect to the contract. The employer-employee relationship is a business relationship. An employee provides a service to its employer and in return the employer issue wages. This type of relationship primarily exists as a means for satisfying the interest of the business only. The area of an employee?s personal life is his or her own concern and not the concern of the employer. Depending on the issue or information, I agree an employee has a right to privacy in the workplace to a certain extent. I also feel that an employer should only be concerned with and be allowed to know the information relevant to the aspects of the job.
The invasion of privacy which occurs through drug testing procedures is intensified with the idea that testing reveals personal information about employees that are not the concern of the employer or any other individual for that matter. For instance, testing can determine other substance use, including medication for conditions such as depression and so forth. In addition, testing reveals if the employer is pregnant, epileptic or diabetic. Employees should rightfully fear that this information might be used against them.
I agree that knowledge of drug use is job relevant information and an employer should be informed and/or aware. An important rationale for implementing drug testing is to assure a drug free work force, to protect against accidents, mistakes, or errors in judgement and enhance worker productivity. An employer has a valid claim to perform drug testing on its employees to determine whether an individual has the capacity to perform the essential components of the job safely, efficiently and reliably.
Various publicized estimates suggest that illegal drug use cost American businesses more than $60 billion annually. These cost include reduced productivity, higher rates in health and liability insurance and sometimes tragic workplace accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace means that an employee traditionally will function at only 65% of his or her work potential and will be three times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident. Drug testing of employees is seen as a way of avoiding these types of effects.
Employers are entitled to some certain level of performance. Agreeing that some drug use can decrease job productivity, and the performance of people using certain drugs is detrimentally affected by such use, and any use of drugs that reduces productivity is consequently job relevant. Employees are also expected to provide a certain level of effort or performance to the employer. If an employee is producing what is expected, knowledge of drug use on the grounds of production is irrelevant since the production is satisfactory. However, if random drug testing is implemented in the company?s structure, all employees should be subjected to testing regardless of their performance.
Drug use has been and can be responsible for considerable harm to individual employees, to their fellow co-workers, to the employer and also third parties, such as consumers. Since the employer is can be liable for harm done to employees and customers, knowledge of drug use is needed so the employers can protect themselves. If knowledge of drug use can prevent harm, then knowing whether or not an employee uses drugs is a legitimate concern of an employer. Employers have a duty to prevent harm and a responsibility for harms done by their employees. These factors are sufficient reasons for any employer to implement drug testing among employees. Also, with an employer being aware of an employee drug use may and can reduce unreasonable risks involving legal and economic liability for harms caused by an employee under the influence of drugs.
Although the law requires that an employer must demonstrate that drug testing of employees is related to a job performance, I believe that if a company has a drug testing policy in place, pre-employment and/or random testing, all employees should be tested equally. Not every job has a potential to cause harm or poses a threat serious enough to justify an employer coming to know if an employee uses drugs however, to practice partial testing is a form of discrimination. Granted, some jobs may pose a more clear and present danger while others may only pose a minimal degree of harm, but regardless of the extent of harm that can be done, the end results, someone will be affected.
Employee consent to drug testing is a voluntary choice. Many may view given the choice between submitting to a drug test and risking one?s job by refusing an employer?s request is not much of a choice. However, if a individual seeks employment to a company that practice pre-employment or random drug testing, that individual has a ?voluntary choice? to either submit and application for employment or not.