Drug testing in the workplace.

Essay by knuthsUniversity, Master's March 2006

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Companies need to have the right to perform drug tests in order to provide for a safe and productive workplace. There are several ways for companies to perform these tests with different levels of acceptance. Companies can perform indiscriminate drug tests that test employees randomly or as a whole. Drug tests may be reserved for those who are suspected of drug use based on job performance. Companies may select to test all new hires. A computer test may be used to test for impairment. Companies who do drug testing will most likely perform a combination of these tests.

Indiscriminate drug testing of hired employees in the workplace in the United States is a controversial issue due to Americans' strong belief in the right to privacy and due process. Indiscriminate drug testing violates the principle of due process by forcing employees to prove their innocence without any evidence of guilt. The process of the drug test often involves a urine sample taken in a degrading manor that violates personal privacy.

Employees with no performance problems and no indication of intoxication should not have to endure an indiscriminate drug test. These drug tests are equivalent to an unreasonable search and employers should not have the right to perform these tests even though the employee has the right to quit.

The only time indiscriminate drug testing is acceptable is when it is applied to employees in sensitive positions whose actions can negative impact many others. This would include drivers of mass transportation or very large vehicles, military weapons operators, chemical plant operators, nuclear facility operators and employees required to carry a firearm. In these cases the concern for public safety out weighs the privacy issues.

Mandatory drug testing as a condition of employment is a form of indiscriminate drug testing but this violation...