Drug testing is a laboratory procedure that looks for evidence of drug consumption by analyzing urine, blood, and hair samples. If tested, you must provide a sample in front of an observer to make sure that it is not tampered with. Samples are then sent to a laboratory for analysis, after which the employer is notified of the results (Wodell 1).
Exactly who should be subject to the new trend of mandatory drug tests, is the big question being raised among businesses, schools, athletes and federal government employees. Businesses feel that random drug testing of their employees will create higher productivity, save on health care costs, improve employee turnover, prevent less accidents, and improve job satisfaction. Schools are beginning to test their students in more and more regions. This time it is not just athletes, but anybody involved in any after-school activities will be tested as well. Schools feel that testing their students will give students an excuse to say no to drugs. It has also generated much controversy among employees of the federal government because employees feel that it is a violation of their right to privacy.
Today 81% of large U.S. corporations engage in some type of employee drug screening, and 98% of Fortune 200 companies have drug-testing policies. On the other hand, employees are more aware of their rights. With the heightened awareness of privacy issues in the U.S, instituting a drug-testing policy can leave a company on shaky legal ground if they are not careful. Testing agencies claim that this growing trend is working to cut back on drug and alcohol abuse in the work force. According to one facility in 1987, 18.1% of those tested showed positive drug use compared to 1997, where only 5% out of five million tests came back positive. As far as the drugs of choice in these tests are 60% are for marijuana, 16% for cocaine, and opiates make up approximately 9 to 10% of the positive test results (Flynn 107).
On the contrary, many employees are not very happy about having to take drug tests and they are voicing their opinions. A recent study conducted by the LeMoyne College Institute of Industrial Relations suggests that, mandatory drug testing actually hurts workplace work place productivity and may promote the abuse of cocaine, booze and other drugs. The study also implied that these programs reduce employee productivity by as much as 33%, because it makes workers feel that they are not trusted by their employers. Lastly, the study points out that because drug tests tend to zoom in on marijuana (which only stays in the system for six weeks) some are turning to cocaine, and psychedelic mushrooms which leave little residue in the body (Workplace 1).
Companies putting these testing policies in place must also consider the legal repercussions involved if they are not careful. Many firms have found themselves in violation of our Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure, better known as a...