Workplace Drug Screening Opinion Ann Crawford 425 Chemical Dependency in the Workplace June 21, 2010 Allie Pashley, PsyD Workplace Drug Screening Opinion Organizations are continuously hiring people; people to fill newly opened positions and people to fill recently vacated positions. Regardless of the position a person is to fill in the organization that is considering hiring him or her, the organization needs to ensure that they are hiring quality people; people who are hard working, honest, trust worthy and drug free.
A way to ensure the person being hired is drug free is to do pre-employment drug screening; the way to ensure the employees remain drug free is to conduct periodic on-going drug screening. Here is a glimpse into whether drug testing is legal or ethical, the various drug testing programs, the types and reliability of the tests, the appropriateness of the tests, whether the tests should be mandatory or voluntary, and who should be tested and the reasons why. Drug Testing: Legal-Ethical Ensuring that one’s business remains a safe place to work, and the employees are not using or abusing drugs is a right of the business and the business owner.
Drug testing is generally not considered an intrusion on an individual’s privacy however the manner in which the test is given and the procedure that is used may end up crossing the line (Cohen & Cohen, 2007). Providing the drug testing is done consistently the process is completely legal and ethical. Drug testing works best for all concerned when the organization has a clearly written drug policy that is shared with all employees and all prospective employees (Stanley, June 2009). A well written drug policy tells the employees that the organization they are working for has no tolerance of drug use and abuse.
Drug Testing Programs “Drug testing has become one of the most effective techniques in promoting a drug-free workplace in America” (Carroll, 2000). Various types of drug testing programs include reasonable suspicion testing, voluntary testing, special conditioning testing, pre-employment testing, follow-up testing, random and comprehensive testing (Carroll, 2000). Reasonable suspicion testing generally occurs only after an individual has given those in control a reason to believe the individual may be using drugs. Voluntary testing is when an individual voluntarily agrees to be tested for a drug testing program.
Special conditioning testing happens after an employee’s is involved in an accident at work; the company wants to ensure the individual was not under any influences. Pre-employment testing is something the majority of businesses now subscribe too. Most businesses will inform an individual they are interested in hiring that the offer of a position will be contingent on his or her passing the pre-employment drug screening. Some businesses will offer treatment programs to any employee who discovers that he or she has a drug or alcohol problem and comes to them for help.
This type of program allows the individual to keep his or her job while attending a rehabilitation program. Upon successful completion of the program, the individual will be expected to endure follow up drug testing to ensure that he or she remains drug free. Finally random and comprehensive testing is randomly done drug testing for all employees; this form of testing is a good way to ensure the employees are not using drugs. Types of Drug Tests There are many types of drug tests available today, urinalysis, hair analysis, sweat test, and FACTOR 1000.
The majority of workplace drug testing, done for pre-employment purposes is a traditional urinalysis (Cholakis & Bruce, 2007). Urine is generally used because it is considered less invasive, it is a natural byproduct from the body, and it is fairly easy to collect (Carroll, 2000). Hair analysis is used to detect drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, and heroin. The hair strand can give the tester the history of the individuals drug use as far as what the drug of choice is, whether the person uses frequently or on occasion, and pproximately how long it has been since last used (Carroll, 2000). The sweat test is completed by the use of a patch which is placed on a person’s upper arm, lower chest, or back, the patch is worn up to seven days and is close to being fool proof; once the patch is removed it cannot be reapplied (Carroll, 2000). Finally FACTOR 1000 is a test that basically measures an individual’s hand-eye coordination as well as reaction time (Carroll, 2000). Reliability of Drug Tests As far as reliability is concerned the urinalysis is perhaps the easiest one that can produce a false positive result.
False positive results can be brought about by the individual using certain products containing ibuprofen, like Advil or Motrin IB, or products such as bread with poppy seeds or various herbal teas (Carroll, 2000). FACTOR 1000 is more or less used as a measure and probably should not be considered an actual test to determine current drug use. As far as reliability go either hair analysis or the sweat test would be the most reliable as it would be next to impossible to compromise any samples. Mandatory, Voluntary, and Appropriateness
Mandatory drug testing is testing that is required of a person, whereas voluntary drug testing is something that a person volunteers to do. These days, most organizations will not offer an individual a position with their company until after he or she has submitted to, and passed a drug screening, usually a urinalysis. While voluntary testing is generally something a person does to help out various testing programs, there are occasions when a person may offer to undergo a drug test, usually to prove a point.
The appropriateness as to whether the testing should be voluntary or mandatory will generally depend on the type of position that a person holds within an organization. Who to Test and Why When seeking employment, most individuals will find that he or she will have to submit to a pre-employment drug screening, usually a urinalysis however, the organization doing the hiring is not limited to this method of testing. People, who fly planes, operate, heavy equipment and trains, or drive other public transportation vehicles such as buses or taxis must undergo mandatory drug testing as a means of ensuring the public they serve re safe. Other positions that should be required to submit to mandatory drug testing would be the President of the United States, members of Congress, the House, the Senate and all government officials, military personnel, judges, lawyers, teachers, police and fire fighters. All of these people have others who depend on them and their ability to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities, using and abusing drugs can and will color their perception and may have deadly results for all who depend on them. Ethical and Legal Implications
Using drugs is illegal and unethical, unfortunately many people do not take that into consideration when they fall victim to the lure of the drug; most people become virtually powerless under the influence of the addiction. This has caused most organizations to do all that is necessary to ensure the people they employee operate safely and in a drug free environment. To accomplish this feat organizations have had to ensure they are doing things in a legal and ethical manner. Installing a no tolerance, drug free policy in each operation became a necessity.
Provided the organization has a written policy, which is available, has been carefully explained, and is understood by the employees the organization is staying legal and ethical. Documentation is imperative in this day and age and one can bet that organizations will do whatever is necessary to stay within the confines of the law. Conclusion “For most companies, policies that include drug testing, education, and training will be comprehensive enough to curtail most of employee drug use” (Davis & Hueller, 2006).
Unfortunately it will not keep everyone who works drug free, which makes on-going and random testing a necessity. Until people understand just how deadly drug use can be, not just to them but to all people they come into contact with, it will continue to be a necessary evil. In a perfect world drug use would be a thing of the past; this is not a perfect world. For now all organizations can do is keep written zero tolerance drug policies in place. Organizations can educate their employees and their supervisors, and they can be consistent in enforcing the policies they have in place.
References Carroll, C. R. (2000). Drug Abuse Prevention. In Drugs in Modern Society Fifth Edition (pp. 319-352). Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Cholakis, P. , & Bruce, R. (2007). Drug Testing in the Workplace. Professional Safety 52(7) , pp. 31-36 Retrieved June 15, 2010, from ABI/INFORM Global. (Document ID: 1480057191). Cohen, C. , & Cohen, M. (2007). On-duty and Off-duty: Employee Right to Privacy and Employer’s Right to Control in the Private Sector. Employee Responsibilities & Rights Journal (19)4 , 235-246 doi:10. 007/s10672-007-9050-2. Davis, E. , & Hueller, E. (2006). Strengthening the Case for Workplace Drug Testing: The Growing Problem of Methamphetamines. SAM Advanced Management Journal (07497075), 71(3) , 4-10. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database. Stanley, T. L. (June 2009). workplace substance abuse: a grave problem. Supervision, Vol. 70 Issue 6 , 18-21, 4p http://search. ebscohost. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/login. aspx? direct=true=bth=40310348=ehost-live.