The Good and the Bad Aspects of Drug Testing in the Workplace
The practice of employers testing applicants and employees for drugs is controversial, some labeling it a thing of the past. The fact that it is still around, however, shows that drug tests serve a purpose and remain an essential facet of employment in the US and anywhere else.
It’s interesting to see how the legalization of cannabis will play out or shape workplace drug-testing policies in the coming days. This California-based company, for example, does drug testing but looked the other way on marijuana.
For you to be here, you are likely a business owner who is mulling over administering drug tests in your company. This article compiles the pros and cons of workplace drug testing.
It Promotes Health and Safety
Drug testing provides employees and the general public a layer of protection against injuries or accidents that may be caused by workers abusing or misusing a substance. Such risks are magnified when the said personnel handle positions like driving vehicles, operating machines, and moving heavy machinery. With preventive measures in place, you have lowered the risk of incurring legal liability arising from workplace accidents.
Perception of Safety and Productivity,Too
Your employees can go to work every day knowing that they are safe. This perception of being out of harm’s way while working may help boost their performance and productivity.
It Serves as a Deterrent
Employers make their policies known, especially those on drugs. This serves as a fair warning to all that that they may be subjected to drug tests as the situation demands.
Employees must comply with the rules to keep their jobs and, consequently, make an effort to steer clear of trouble.
It Provides Employees a Helpline
Thirty-one million people around the world have drug-use disorders, according to the World Health Organization. As an employer, you can extend help to those who have tested positive.
You can enroll them in treatment and intervention programs that can take them out of addiction. Not only are you able to retain employees, but you may have just dodged a discrimination lawsuit under the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Some employees see drug tests as a violation of their privacy, even the least-invasive ones. For them, it’s a measure that seems counterproductive vis-à-vis the legalized use of marijuana on the state level.
As of now, 33 states and Washington, DC, allow recreational, medical, or both uses of the plant in their jurisdiction. Check if marijuana is legal in your state with this interactive map.
It’s Costly in More Ways Than One
Companies bear the cost of drug tests on their premises. The expense is influenced by the following:
- The drug testing method, such as urine, hair follicle, saliva, sweat, and blood.
- The frequency of the test: preemployment, return to duty, postaccident, reasonable suspicion, and random test
There’s another hidden cost to drug testing in the workplace. You fired someone because of their test results, they sued you, and a legal battle ensued. To spare your company from attorney’s fees and headaches, adopt a clear and foolproof drug policy aligned with state and federal laws.
It’s Keeping Talents Out
At the onset, you require applicants who received a conditional offer of employment to undergo a drug test. While you’re in the right to protect your business and employees, you may have turned down someone who could have been a good fit for the company if not for their test results.
It’s Another Drug, after All
People may have been too wrapped up with marijuana or heroin use in the workplace that another substance, alcohol, may have slipped their attention. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs developed and ranked the level of harm among substances from 0 to 100. Their ranking placed alcohol at the top, with a score of 72, and mushrooms at the bottom, with a score of 5. Meanwhile, cannabis scored 20.
While this is not to defend or endorse any drug use by going for the lesser evil, alcohol is one drug that can well be included in the testing for a holistic approach.
Have you made up your mind about workplace drug testing and policies, in general? Share your concerns in the comments.