All employers are entitled to keep their work environment safe. With this, many conduct random drug tests among their workforce as part of their drug-free workplace policy. Some organizations also do it as a pre-employment requirement for all potential applicants. Although this is common in most companies and organizations in the United States, the subject of drug testing still remains a controversial one in the business industry.
How exactly does random drug testing benefit a company, and how does doing so put the business at a disadvantage?
Speaking of the Pros
Drugs and the workplace are a fatal combination, both for the employer and the employee drug user. Drugs and other substances have been known to impair one’s decision-making abilities and even negatively affect one’s physical capabilities. In fact, 10% to 20% of US workers who have died on the job were tested positive for drugs or alcohol.
To prevent such instances, drug testing can be implemented to provide a safe work environment for everyone. Since employees who are drug users are more likely to be involved in an accident at work, which can be fatal in heavy-duty and production industries, it is best to spot these individuals early on and to conduct the necessary interventions to keep them from potentially harming themselves and others.
On the other hand, pre-employment drug testing can also help reduce employee turnover. Hired employees who constantly use drugs may eventually quit or get fired, but when applicants are thoroughly screened beforehand, the company will likely retain more reliable employees and reduce turnover and recruitment costs in the long run.
Considering the Cons
Privacy has always been an issue when it comes to drug testing. Many employees are likely to perceive a random drug test as a violation of their privacy, with the belief that what they do for recreation is their own business. Such implementation may lower employee morale and lose their trust in your company.
Another cause for concern is the fact that drug test results may not always turn out accurate. A lot of drug tests may not be able to detect whether an individual is a habitual user or has only used the drug once. Drug test results may also be easily manipulated with the help of synthetic urine and other chemicals. With these tactics, implementing random drug tests will only cost the company a fortune to no avail.
How to Decide
Although a lot of challenges and risks surround these drug-free workplace policies, an organization that’s free of drugs and alcohol is still completely attainable. Before anything else, employers must first come up with a clear and concise written drug-free workplace policy to legally protect them and their employees. A random drug test may be conducted on at least 50% of the entire workforce each year. Meanwhile, incoming applicants should also be informed that they will be subject to a pre-employment drug test to be considered for the job.
Unless there is a strong suspicion, the final step to making sure your workplace drug-testing policy is legal is to implement such policy fairly and squarely across all employees, from the latest hire to the most senior member of the team.