Workplace Drug Testing

A company’s top priority is to provide a safe environment for employees. This means protecting them from actions resulting from drug abuse. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports nearly nine percent of American full-time workers use drugs with the hospitality industry having the highest abuse rate.

This is why companies are implementing stricter drug and alcohol screening. They want to prevent their employees from falling victim to drug abuse. But does it help, and is it even ethical?

Does it help the company?

Implementing a strict drug policy does protect employees. Finding and removing team members who use illegal drugs will help productivity and eliminate some liabilities. Additionally, testing employees for drug use benefits the company by:

* Showing clients you adhere to strict ethics

* Preventing inappropriate candidates from applying

* Removing drug-related liabilities

* Encouraging a safe and healthy environment

It also acts as a positive reinforcement to encourage other employees to abstain from this behavior. Just be clear about the penalties. Will you enforce a no tolerance policy or give employees the chance to enter a recovery program?

How does it hurt the company?

While drug screening may bring benefits to your company’s environment, some employees may not appreciate the invasion of privacy. This will set up resentment. Other employees may feel you don’t trust them. Team members who feel untrusted or violated will be unhappy and unproductive. This will hurt the company by:

* Creating scenarios for lawsuits

* Slowing production and results

* Costing the company for lost hours

* Encouraging high turnover rates

Regular drug testing also costs more money. This is one of the reasons why 40 percent of employers don’t drug screen their employees.

Is it ethical?

Companies also have to determine whether drug testing is ethical. Opponents say this is an invasion of privacy and unfair to employees. They question why the company needs to know this much about their privacy. In other words, it is none of the company’s business what you do in your off hours. This is true to a certain point, but, if your behavior directly impacts the business, they have a right to know and act. It is a case of whose rights are most important.

Points To Consider

Whether your company enforces a strict drug screening policy or decides against testing employees, it’s important to understand how these decisions impact the company culture. By not setting a drug enforcement policy that regularly tests employees, you are sending the message that the company doesn’t care about health and safety. But over testing can lower morale.

One solution is creating a whistleblower program that allows employees to anonymously report any drug abuse. Managers should also be trained to identify the signs of alcohol and drug abuse. They will serve as the first defense against inappropriate behavior.

Ethical Advocate helps businesses protect their company by providing hotline solutions and training. Learn more about how a whistleblower program can save your company money.