The Legal and Ethical Aspects of Drug Screening in the Workplace Introduction
Workplace drug screening policies in America revolve around the risk management views of corporate accountants and lawyers, and do not consider the individual rights of employees. Risk management can be defined as the process of analyzing exposure to risk and determining how to best handle that exposure (investorwords.com). Since companies are concerned with profitability, the risk can further be defined as what is the financial cost vs. the financial benefit of implementing a drug screening policy. In the article "Employer Drug Testing Has Pitfalls" by Lee Fletcher (Fletcher, 2000, 1-2), he interviews 5 different companies about the downside to drug screening. Company policy makers are asked about their considerations. Their answers were all about consistent implementation in order to minimize liability. The liability had to do with poor performance at work, and the costs of increased injury. One of those interviewed was against drug screening, but not because of the ethical implication, but because of the financial risk of litigation making it too expensive. Few would argue that drug use in the workplace affects a company's profitability, but should that be the only concern? What about the majority of a company's employees that do not use drugs? Do these companies have the right to ignore the rights of individuals not under suspicion, and the rights of those individuals that practice their drug use on occasion without any affect to their performance? "The process is a waste of resources and a violation of civil liberties, according to the ACLU. They contend that a decade of drug testing has failed to produce evidence that testing curbs workplace problems and drug abuse. "The evidence shows that [drug testing] is not only morally wrong but a colossal waste of money," said Lewis Maltby, director of the ACLU's Workplace Rights Project. Maltby argues that people "shouldn't be fired for...
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