Business Ethics of Drug Testing

PUBLISHED: Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Business Ethics of Drug Testing  

The business ethics of drug testing are an issue that has debated since employers started using drug tests to screen their current and potential employees. One of the first reports on the business ethics of drug testing surfaced in 1987. The report, which was fittingly titled "The Dilemmas of Drug Testing" examined the both sides of the issue of drug testing in the workplace. According to the report, forty-four percent of young adults admitted to using some kind of illegal drug during the past year (1986). Another surprising statistic was that during this time, drug and alcohol abuse cost employers around the United States a cumulative one hundred billion dollars. The astonishing number was based on facts such as employees who have a drug habit being absent more, leaving jobs quicker and having higher medical bills. 

The issue of the business ethics of drug testing is basically split into two sides, much like most heated issues. On one side of the business ethics of drug testing debate are the employers and corporations. This side feels that because they are paying their employees, they have a right to know if they are doing something that could make them less productive in the workplace. Additionally, employers argue that they need to be able to protect the safety of all their employees. They feel that employees with a regular drug habit pose a serious risk to the safety of others and that of the workplace as a whole. According to one study, employees who use drugs on a regular basis have three times as many accidents in the workplace as those who do not. Additionally, in workplaces such as airports or nuclear plants, these accidents could have extremely serious consequences. 

On the other side of the business ethics of drug testing issue are those that feel that a drug testing policy violates an employee's basic right to privacy. They state that a random drug testing policy infringes on everyone's rights because it does not test based on probable cause. To add to their grievances, this group feels that there are no business ethics to drug testing because it can publicly embarrass an employee. It is basically impossible to argue with this point because then you would have to prove that the majority of the population does not feel uncomfortable when they are forced to pee into a cup. Additionally, critics of the business ethics of drug testing in the workplace think that employees should not be judged by what they do in their free time. Unless employees are using drugs in the workplace, the employer should have no power to reprimand them. Finally, people who feel that there are no business ethics to drug testing contend that drug tests are too inaccurate to base someone's job and income on their results. 

The business ethics of drug testing is an issue that will not be disappearing anytime soon. As long as employers are allowed to perform drug testing on their employees, the business ethics of drug testing will be discussed by people around the nation.

 

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