Drug testing has been commonplace in the American workforce since the 1980s and has continued to grow in use through the years, even as the legal prohibition on drugs, particularly marijuana, has started to soften in recent years. This brings up a question of what the future of drug testing should be considering the benefits it provides to society and the employer. This article lists the pros and cons of workplace drug testing.
Improves productivity by eliminating under performing employees
The biggest advantage of workplace drug testing is that it can help eliminate addicts and other people with drug problems, who may otherwise affect the overall company performance. People who are suffering from drug addiction or other drug-related problems are likely to be less productive and more problematic employees for the employer.
Addresses healthy employees and reduces employer cost
Another big issue is accidents and injuries on the job, especially for jobs that involve driving or operating heavy machinery. Being on drugs can increase the risk of an employee being involved in an accident and cause injury to themselves and other employees or possibly even death. Additionally, there is often a huge amount of money that has to be paid out by the employer in terms of worker’s compensation and legal settlements when people get injured or lose their lives on the job.
Another big benefit for employers related to this is that insurance and liability costs are lower just by implementing a drug-testing program. Life Insurance companies will often offer lower rates to employers that aggressively drug tests as it reduces the likelihood of them having to make a major payout.
To put things in perspective, consider the following scenarios. Will it be ok if the following professionals were found to be working under the influence of some drugs or even alcohol?
- The surgeon operating on you, your friends or relatives or the midwife delivering your child
- The pilot/driver taking the wheels of the plane/car you’re on.
- The trade analyst suggesting stocks to you to buy or sell.
- The bus driver taking your child to school
- The driver of heavy duty trucks speeding up on the highway
- The construction worker building your office/house
Certainly we would never want any one of them to be under the slightest influence of drugs or mind altering medication.
But like all other things, this concept of Drug testing comes with its share of cons as well. Following are some of the negative effects or deterrents in the process :
Drug Testing at workplaces means less privacy
One of the biggest arguments against drug testing is that it can prove to be highly invasive of employee’s privacy. It might involve employees urinating in a cup often while someone is observing you and you have to disclose certain medical conditions and legal prescription drugs that you are taking to prevent false positives.
Drug Testing Accuracy Percentage is another concern
Another problem with drug tests is that they may lead to dismissing employees or denying employment offers to people who are not even using drugs. No drug test is 100 percent accurate and even if a very small inaccuracy percentage can affect many thousands of employees. They are drug tested every year. Even if one percent false positive will result in a hundred thousand out of ten million tested. This can have a huge negative effect on both the individual who loses the job and the employer who may lose out on well-qualified employees who might not have done anything wrong.
Cost of Drug Testing
A final drawback to drug testing employees is simply the cost of testing. The cost of the entire process carries but it tends to average around 40$ per test. While this may seem small, but if you are testing every single employee on an annual basis then it can add up significantly. Other than cost, employees have to take time off of their normal duties to go and perform these tests which mean employers are losing hours of productivity.
But despite these deterrents, the general notion remains more or less in favor of ensuring that absolutely no one should be allowed to work under the influence of any type of substance or drugs, in their work place. Ultimately Workplace drug testing has the potential to greatly enhance Employee health and safety in the workplace, by discouraging people from abusing substances and thereby suffering any ill health effects and reducing the likelihood of accidents and injuries related to working under the influence.