The Renegade Rip

Drug testing in the workplace

Chris Miller and Alex Rivera, Reporter

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There are those who might feel that subjecting him or herself to monthly drug tests while at work, or urinating into a cup before he or she is even considered for a job interview infringes on that person’s rights to do whatever that person chooses to do with his or her own body. However, what those people won’t admit is, it’s not about their right to personal choice, it’s more about their selfish inability to break a habit that can affect their work. Drug testing at the workplace is a necessity.

Sure, recreational marijuana is legal in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. But, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it can’t lead to some dire consequences oftentimes involving people who aren’t even the ones indulging with substances that bring the user under the influence of that very same substance. Under the influence are the key words here.

Take Alcohol, for instance. There’s nothing wrong with downing a couple of shots of Fireball or drinking until the person passes out.

But, what makes getting that drunk so bad is when that person tries to go to work while under the influence. Being under the influence not only affects job performance, but also it can put people in danger depending on the job in question.

A drunk school bus driver may end up driving onto the wrong side of the road and crashing into the oncoming traffic, killing the school kids on the bus as well as the driver and passengers who crashed into the bus.

For this reason, employers do not allow their employees to be under the influence of alcohol while working. So, wouldn’t it make sense that same policy should be applied towards both legal and illegal drug usage?

If being under the influence of alcohol while on duty can be dangerous, isn’t being under the influence of some other kind of substance just as dangerous?

Of course it is.

Recreational use of any kind of substance doesn’t affect anyone else but the user, but when that user is either as high as a kite or as drunk as a skunk while at work, there’s a problem here.

So, when somebody claims that drug tests at the workplace is a bad thing, you can bet your bottom dollar that person is some sort of an addict and cares little, if at all, about their performance at work or the well-being of those around them.

 

CON

Drug testing in the workplace is a major part of the hiring process in many companies, as well as a huge part in ensuring that jobs are able to maintain a safe work environment.

But I believe drug testing in the workplace has many cons to it that your average supervisor may overlook. Many employees feel that if they are asked to do random drug testing that it invades the individual’s privacy. Employers do not have the right or cannot intrude on an individual’s privacy without serious cause and a manner that is reasonable.

Many claim routine and random drug testing clearly invades their privacy. The programs that these employers have in place subject their employees to humiliation and intrude on their privacy routinely and randomly, not because there is reasonable cause.

Knowing that employers do random drug testing to their employees also brings the morale down in the company. It is not an effective means for screening out employees whose on-the-job performance is being impaired by drugs. The results of drug testing only indicate that traces of a drug are present in a person’s body, not whether a drug is affecting a person at work.

There are a number of things that a drug test will pick up on, as well as several things that it is more or less useful for. For example, marijuana can stay in the body and blood stream for weeks after use. A drug test will pick up on things done by a private citizen when they were not at work that will in no way affect their work. In addition, if an employee is addicted to heroin or cocaine it will not be detected unless the individual uses it daily or prior to the screening.

Many employers do not understand the cost of doing random drug testing in companies, because it is not coming directly out of their pocket. Sending dozens of associates for drug screenings without probable cause on a routinely basis cost companies thousands of dollars.

Workers against drug testing in the workplace often threaten to sue their employer for violations. Even if the worker loses the case, the business still stands to lose money from downtime needed to fight the case and attorney fees. Implementing a random drug-testing program can cost thousands of dollars and may result in no one testing positive.

Impairment testing presents a possible alternative to drug testing in the workplace that may end the drug testing debate altogether. These tests could be more effective than random drug testing because they test a person’s current state. The impairment test measures brain function, such as hand-eye coordination, reaction time, and quick decision-making ability. Other emerging techniques include tests that measure tiny eye movements to determine whether a person is impaired, and agility tests that measure movements.

If there is no probable cause for an individual to be drug tested, then I believe it is unnecessary to have a routine of random drug testing. It is costing your companies too much money, as well as making your employees feel humiliated and have no sign of self-respect for the individual.

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Drug testing in the workplace