Thanks to Sophia Young for contributing this article.
The proliferation of illegal drug use is a long-standing problem in all societies. While governments and law enforcement struggle to address this problem, employers are faced with a challenge. They need to maintain the workplace free from the hazards posed by workers under the influence of these drugs.
Using illegal drugs is unhealthy and can negatively affect employee productivity and performance. Drugs can cloud judgment, which can lead to accidents in the workplace. According to the National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, 40% of industrial fatalities in the US are caused by employees under the influence of illegal drugs.
To curb this problem, employers use workplace drug testing as a tool. This article will cover:
What is workplace drug testing?
It’s a mitigation tool involving testing prospective employees or present employees for drug use. It helps companies create a safer and more productive workplace while also providing a slew of benefits. Testing is a deterrent to employees considering illicit drug use. Consequently, workplace drug testing can also bring out some problems.
Pros of workplace drug testing
Cons of workplace drug testing
The legality of workplace drug testing
There are no federal laws that prevent employers from conducting workplace drug tests, but the intricacies may differ from one state to another. Employers should check all state laws for drug testing that may affect their business before implementing a workplace drug testing program.
For instance, a few states have enforced laws that prevent companies from conducting random drug testing of workers. However, there are some exceptions. One such exception is individuals re-entering the labor force after serving jail time. Some ex-convicts are mandated to submit to random drug testing as a part of the conditions of their parole.
Another important thing to discuss is employee privacy. Companies aren’t allowed to disclose the results of a drug test resulting from a background check. However, the situation is different in the presence of a criminal investigation.
While employers aren’t compelled or prohibited by law to conduct workplace drug testing, they have plenty of reasons to do so. Drug testing can help companies improve workplace safety, increase productivity, and even help their bottom line. However, it has risks that can result in undesirable consequences when ignored.
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