Workplace Drug Screening Opinion Paper

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This paper represents the legal, moral and ethical implications of testing for the presence of alcohol or drugs as a precondition of employment or as a condition of continued employment. It is the author’s opinion of moral, ethical and legal issues that such testing causes.

What exactly is meant by "moral and ethical issues"? The "Moral" refers to the conditions to be satisfied by any right course of action. In the context of drug and alcohol testing, the objective factors such as privacy, employer control of employee behavior, confidentiality and issues of social responsibility, constitute the moral issues that must be considered. "Ethical", on the other hand is a subjective concept and refers to the "correct and honorable" way in which objective moral issues are dealt with.

The ethical approaches to the moral issues are varied and as shown in this paper, the way that they are dealt with varies according to circumstances. Moreover, the moral and ethical considerations form the basis of whether drug and alcohol testing are seen to be acceptable. The moral and ethical issues of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace are related to the protection of rights of society versus individual rights. No one is opposed to measures that would rid drug and alcohol abuse from the workplace. The essential controversy about drug an alcohol testing, however is whether these testing goals justify the means taken to achieve them.

Drug and alcohol testing is being justified on the grounds that more and more employers are being held responsible for the action of their employees. The subject of possible litigation ranges from negligence during pre-employment screening to failing to send home an intoxicated employee who subsequently becomes involved in an accident.

Ethical arguments favor testing as deterrence on the grounds that it promotes the safety of co-workers and the general public, who might otherwise be injured by impaired workers. In this regard the safety issue,...
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