Drug testing in the workplace is a controversial subject, but many people do not mind the testing because they already know that they are drug free. Those who have some sort of illicit drug in their bodies are the ones who usually cry out that drug testing is not fair. Many websites who sell products to adulterate drug tests give pages and pages of advice on how to outsmart drug tests. Of course, they make their money from selling thousands of dollars of items to help drug users do something that is illegal.
The Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is against drug testing in the workplace for several reasons. Their main argument is that it is not fair or necessary to force those who are not suspected of drug use and who do a good job for their employers. They say that "when someone's job performance is satisfactory, to 'prove' their innocence through a degrading and uncertain procedure that violates personal privacy" is not fair (ACLU Briefing Paper Number 5).
Another argument of this group is that urine tests do not show when a drug was used; they merely show the metabolites or leftover remnants of a drug that was previously used. For example, their argument states that if an employee smoked marijuana on Saturday, he or she may test positive on Wednesday when they are no longer under its influence and perfectly able to perform at their job.
It is also a concern that mandatory drug testing at work can reveal medical issues that an employee is taking medications to treat, such as depression, heart disease, or diabetes. Urine tests can also reveal pregnancy. Employers may use this information against an employee when considering them for a promotion, transfer, or other reason even though it is against the law to do so.
The other side of the coin is that employers are losing big bucks by having employees under the influence of drugs and alcohol. These employees cost them more in health insurance claims, Worker's Compensation, loss of productivity, absenteeism, and other losses. They bring down the morale of other workers who do not use drugs and have to cover for a worker who is high or drugged. Because these employees are working at the employer's site, it is his or her business whether or not the person is under the influence of drugs.
Drug testing in the workplace can be done in a way that is respectful to the employee. It does not have to be unfair and degrading if testing is done at by a professional drug testing company.
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