Drug Testing in the Workplace
Drug abuse has been on the increase in the world today, with its effects causing greater challenges at the workplace. Drugs can cause ill health, increase accidents at work and substantially reduce an employee’s output. Therefore, employers have been keen to keep drug misuse off the workplace. With most employers implementing drug testing at their workplace, it can be difficult for drug users to get employment in the future. Drug testing at the workplace has proven to reduce work accidents, and improve workers performance. It has also proven to be a cheaper strategy in identifying those workers who can need assistance, with the five common drug tests being: blood, hair, saliva, urine and sweat (David R. Russell 258). Employers can be advised to have a policy on drug testing, due to safety risks from drug misuse. This policy should be between the employer and employees. The drug policy clearly state out the disciplinary action for those found misusing drugs at the workplace, how the drug tests can be conducted, the objective of the policy and how the drug abusers can be assisted (Gregory Rice 486). Regardless of an employer’s motive for testing, they need employee consent so as not to violate the employee’s right to be safe from seizures and unreasonable searches. Before a company or organization decides to carry out a drug test, it should consider several factors, like government regulations, insurance requirements and contract agreements. Some contracts can demand a drug-free workplace for employers, and, therefore, the need for a drug test. The employer should restrict the testing to the employees that need it under justified reasons (Gregory Rice 485). In 1979, drug usage was at its peak in America but has been steadily falling from then. The awareness of health concerns and drug prevention programs have contributed significantly to reduced drug use. This means there can be other better constitutional ways of addressing drug abuse at the workplace, including treatment and education of employees (Karch 111). Indiscriminate drug testing can be unfair to employees. It can be unnecessary to force productive workers, who have satisfactory job performance to a drug test just to prove their innocence, through a procedure that violates their privacy. The search should respect the privacy, for example, there should be a witness, and it should be performed by members of the same sex (Hanson 12). An employer has the right to fire an employee who refuses to acknowledge a drug test policy after a warning. The policy should extend to all employees in various job categories. For example, those who have risky jobs like operating vehicles and machinery can be subjected to drug testing, but clerical staff can be exempted. Some companies comply with drug testing because it can be a requirement by law. Most organizations notify their employees, that positive drug tests result to termination. Some have given the employees another chance after rehabilitation under agreed, supervisory conditions. Several organizations and companies have attempted to evaluate the relationship between drug abuse and employee job performance, and they have found little relationship (Parish 46) . Drug tests can be unreliable with commonly used drug tests yielding false results. The drug screens can also mix up chemicals leading to unreliable drug tests. A positive drug test indicates that a drug was taken at a past time, it does not establish the difference between habitual and occasional use. Drug testing does not also detect all the users, since stronger drugs like cocaine do not last for a longer time in their user’s blood stream as compared to marijuana. This means that a frequent cocaine user can easily pass a drug test compared to a marijuana user (Karch 98). Accurate tests tend to be time consuming and can be expensive for most organizations, and, therefore, used less frequently. Hanson...
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