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So now that drug testing has started to become more common in workplaces, many ethical issues are coming to the surface, bringing many workplace disputes with them. So the question needs to be asked, should workplaces be allowed the right to conduct mandatory drug tests?
Drug tests in the workplace would bring up many ethical issues relating to employee privacy, fairness and company morale. Workplace drug lends fair arguments to both the employers and the employees with pros and cons for each side involved.
From the standpoint of a worker, it isn’t unreasonable to think that being able to turn up to your job each day relaxed and not having to worry about the possibility of a drug test during your day. Also, a person’s social life should have no relation to their work life so long as it doesn’t hinder their work in any way.
If an employer asked for a sample when the employee wasn’t at work but wasn’t under the effects of the drug at work (for example marijuana stays in the system for up to thirty days) then these may not be relevant and would be none if the employers business (excuse the pun). This would then bring up issues if the staff member refused the test due to their belief that they would be judged on their results.
On the other side of the coin a company would believe that it has the right to know if their workers are under the influence of anything that could affect their productivity of compromise the safety of their workplace. For example testing truck drivers for using copious amounts of caffeine could be a benefit if they are fatigued whilst driving as it could save lives. An employer is liable for damages in an accident and using these methods could reduce the chances of an accident occurring.
The most important part of drug testing in workplaces in my opinion would be using an unbiased third party company to test the staff in a manner agreed to with both employees and employers. This third party would then keep the results confidential unless they tested positive to something that would affect their work.
At the end of the day, drug testing still has many issues. Damaged staff morale, fairness – imagine a drug impaired employee being paid the same amount as a clean employee and how an employer would feel in this situation, repercussions of drug use including fair punishment and assistance or counseling for employees and a workers right to privacy are just the beginnings of drug testing and is why it will remain a contentious topic for time to come.