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Are Mandatory Drug Tests in The Workplace A Good Idea?

Many employers face the moral dilemma of implementing a mandatory drug testing in the workplace. Business owners say they prefer to hire staff members who do not use illegal drugs, but employees regularly argue that workplace drug testing violates their right to privacy.

There are clear pros and cons of workplace drug testing. For one, it lets managers ensure their staff are not using illegal drugs on the job or during their time off. But most business owners shy away from testing their employees for drugs because doing so would incur a considerable cost for the company.

Both sides present valid points, so it is important for managers to research thoroughly before deciding to circulate any drug testing announcements in the office memo.

Here are some reasons why you should or shouldn’t implement a workplace drug testing:

The reasons for implementing drug testing:

Safety Reasons

Workplace drug testing ensures that the office environment remains safe and healthy. The threat of drug-related incidents would be lessened or even non-existent, if all employees are found clean.

Without drug testing at work, there is no way for an employer to positively identify workers who pose a risk to everyone in the workplace with their drug use or abuse. In high-risk jobs, it is important that all workers handling hazardous chemicals, operating heavy machinery, or driving vehicles for the company, are in their right state of mind to avoid any freak accidents.

Workplace drug testing will ensure that he or she doesn’t work while under the influence, protecting the employee and other staff from potential accidents.

Work Problems That May Arise

Persistent drug use may affect the quality of work by an employee. He or she may come in late or produce low quality output, because of drug intoxication. In this case, the costs of a drug test may save the company money further down the line, when it does not have to re-hire or compensate an injured employee.

Possible Legal Liabilities

Having drug users in the workplace poses a lot of risks for employers. For example, an accident occurred in the office caused by a drug-using employee and one or two other staff members were injured because of it. Employers could face legal liability because they failed to maintain a safe and drug-free working environment for all. Drug tests is the best way for business owners to positively identify workers who pose a risk to everyone in the workplace with their drug use or abuse.

By having a workplace drug testing program, it shows that companies are making an effort at keeping a safe working environment for everyone. Beyond individual safety and legal protection, think of the company’s public image in case of a drug-related accident. The consequences can potentially be fatal for a business. Imagine the headlines about a fatal accident at your company, triggered by an employee that was high on drugs while on the job. That does not paint the picture of a company that clients will entrust future business to.

Improved Morale

When staff know that their safety is taken very seriously by their employer it will only raise morale levels. Employees who feel valued tend to be more motivated and committed.

Employees with Drug Problems Need Help

A mandatory workplace drug testing is not only beneficial for business owner but for the drug-using employees as well. A drug test is not meant to humiliate staff but assist them in getting the proper help that they need. There are companies that do not terminate employees who fail drug tests and will instead give them the option of going to a rehabilitation facility to retain their job. In several instances, they are recommended to an outpatient facility, so that they can continue to work while receiving treatment for their drug related issue.

Reasons to not carry out drug testing in the workplace include:

Drug Testing Costs

It depends on the method to be used, but most drug tests cost up to $40 per person. It could go higher if the company decides to also put in a pre-employment drug testing. This will affect the company’s bottom line, which discourages most business employers from implementing a workplace drug testing.

Privacy Issues

Some employees are against workplace drug testing because they feel it violates their personal space and their rights to their own free time. Staff member could feel insulted with the thought of a drug test because for them it means their employers do not trust them. In cases of random drug testing, the employees picked for the test might feel singled out and can make them resentful.

Unfair Dismissal Lawsuits

Often, staff members who are found to be positive for drug use get fired right away. It is possible that some of them will decide to sue the company for unfair dismissal. These lawsuits tend to be costly and time-consuming. Business owners should consult with their legal department before they decide to conduct drug testing procedures. A sound drug policy that is demonstrably known to your employees is key to avoid major legal issues.

Making the Choice

In the end, the pros clearly outweigh the cons when it comes to workplace drug testing. A drug-free work environment remains a key ingredient in ensuring the health and safety of all employees. It protects everyone from the devastating impacts of drugs. This obviously includes your company and your employees, but also their families and the public at large. Demonstrate to your workers that you deem their well-being important and they are being looked after by a company they can trust. To implement a drug safe program at your workplace that is legally sound, cost-effective and flexible, you should turn to companies with proven track records, like Florida-based Brevard Background Check.

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