List of Pros and Cons of Drug Testing in the Workplace
As America moves closer and closer to a day where more recreational drugs (such as marijuana) become legalized for personal usage, the workforce’s clamoring for the abolishing of work place drug testing will only continue to become louder and more insistent.
Meanwhile, the pro drug test crowd will point to work place accidents and shoddy service as symptoms of rampant employee drug usage and continue to push for the maintenance of the current testing policies. There are even those who believe that the drug testing polices of today are not harsh enough.
The anti drug testing crowd believes their bodies belong to them and that what they do in the free time in their own personal business, while the pro drug testing faction sees the tests as an inalienable employer right. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons.
List of Pros of Drug Testing In The Workplace
1. Employees With Drug Problems Receive Help
Every employer that drug tests an employee does not do so because they wish to catch the employee in some sort of wrongdoing and publicly shame them with a public termination. In many instances, a thoughtful employer will drug test an employee who has been behaving erratically, with an eye towards directing them towards the proper help that they need.
Various employers do not terminate employees who fail drug tests and will instead give them the option of going to a rehabilitation facility to retain their job. In several instances, they are recommended to an outpatient facility, so that they can continue to work while receiving treatment for their drug related issue.
2. Reduction of Accidents
Accidents tend to take place more in lax workplace environments. An employee who is not worried about being drug tested may not work as hard and slacking off tends to be the main catalyst of many workplace accidents. Even worse, these accidents can cause severe employee injury, which can lead to cover up schemes as the employee attempts to avoid a mandatory drug test.
Employees that use drugs in their spare time tend to make their way to work in a state of mind that is unfit for the completion of their tasks. When an employer does not drug test their employees, they are also placing themselves at risk of a lawsuit when an accident takes place that incapacitates employees who were not even to blame for the incident taking place.
3. Increased Safety Causes Increased Productivity
The safer an employee feels while they are on the job, the more productive they will be. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and even one bad apple employee can spoil the bunch. Employees tend to see themselves as a separate entity from their employers, which fosters an us against them mentality that is unhealthy for work place morale.
An employer that displays genuine concern for the safety and well being of their employee will always have more success in getting employees to reach their full potential. A safe work place is a happy work place and happiness equals maximum productivity.
List of Cons of Drug Testing In The Workplace
1. Violation of Personal Space
Those who are against drug testing believe that it is a violation of an employee’s personal space and their rights to their own free time. Many drug testing supporters do not even need a probable cause and see an employee as a form of property that can be treated as the employer sees fit.
While there are few who would advocate for abolishing work place drug tests in situations where there is justifiable suspicion about the employee’s level of impairment, allowing employers to drug test employees with impunity is a slippery slope. An employee who is merely tired from dealing with a sick child the night before or suffers from insomnia may be forced to deal with the unwanted scrutiny that comes along with a drug test.
2. Increased Expense To The Employerv
One aspect of employee drug testing that is often forgotten by those who are proponents for increased regulations is the effect that it has a company’s bottom line. Not only is it becoming increasingly expensive to procure an accurate drug testing kit, but they are not an item that can be purchased and stored away for a rainy day.
Should a drug test be purchased and go unused, there is no way for an employer to recoup that expense. If an employer is to drug test an employee, only to find out that they are not actually under the influence of any illicit substances, then they are also leaving themselves susceptible to the filing of a lawsuit for false accusation and/or libel.
3. Drug Tests Are Not Always Accurate
Think back on all of the times when you heard that an athlete tested positive for a drug or a performance enhancing substance, only for the results to be revoked at a later date due to faulty tests and improper maintenance? When this happens to an employee at a prototypical 9-5 job, they do not receive a public apology and they may struggle to procure additional employment should they be terminated under false pretenses.
Even in instance where a drug test produces an accurate reading, it does not always provide context to the usage. An employee should not lose their job over recreational drug usage that took place several days before an accident or incident. However, impairment tests are even more expensive than typical drug testing kits, which makes employers reticent to use them.