Workplace Drug Testing

Essay by fenixfiremedicUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are few laws that protect the privacy of U.S. citizens. Millions of Americans are being drug tested yearly in the workplace, even when they aren't suspected of drug use. Innocent people do have something to hide: their private life. The right to privacy is the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by citizens. Americans have traditionally believed that general searches of the innocent are unfair. Urine tests are body searches, and they are an unprecedented invasion of privacy. The government must have good reason to suspect a particular person before subjecting him or her to intrusive body searches.

Mandatory drug tests, in some cases, violate the person rights guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches. Courts have ruled that drug tests are a search, and a search is a privacy issue.

Forced or random drug testing severely endangers constitutional democracy. The Fourth Amendment issue of reasonable suspicion is a fundamental objection to mandatory and comprehensive drug screening. It is a constitutional issue if you try random testing once you are employed. In many court cases, the Fourth Amendment right to privacy has outweighed the government's interest in maintaining a drug-free workplace. The testing of current employees cannot be justified with suspicion of wrongdoing. Many state and federal courts have ruled that testing in public workplaces is unconstitutional if it is not based on an individual suspicion.

Lab procedure is a second invasion of privacy. Urinalysis reveals not only the presence of illegal drugs, but also the existence of many other physical and medical conditions, including genetic predisposition to disease, or pregnancy. For example, the Washington D.C. Police Department admits to using urine samples collected fro drug tests to screen...