Drug testing in the workplace is common, and is designed to ensure that all employees are positive, productive members of the team. This business writing example explores the issue of drug testing in employment and covers the importance and relevance behind this sometimes-controversial policy.
Drug testing in the workplace
Managers face the daunting task of assigning, coordinating, and reviewing the work of others. The very nature of being a successful manager and supporting quality operations implies the need to discover the truth about what an employee is doing or not doing to enhance the quality of the good or service provided. The most challenging aspect of being a manager is monitoring the behavior of subordinates and coordinating the delivery of a quality good or service without infringing on the employee’s privacy rights.
The majority of employees will want to support the efforts of the business and would be concerned with working in an environment that is unsafe due to drug use on behalf of one or more employees. It is the duty of the manager to provide a safe work environment for the majority and help the business achieve operational objectives.
Making the policy understood and easy to access
Drug testing has become a common term of employment. Companies usually have a drug testing portion within the company handbook. That policy is typically signed at the beginning of employment by the new employees. Some companies require a passing drug screen to begin work and then the employee may be subjected to random or for-cause drug screens.
According to the article, the terms of the drug screening policy are agreed upon prior to employment and do not, therefore, violate privacy (Cranford, n.d.). Therefore, the privacy of the employee is only violated when the information used does not relate to the terms of employment. The use of narcotics or alcohol on the job is a dangerous and operationally detrimental practice. Companies cannot afford to risk an employee being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
Utilitarian thoughts applied to employee drug screenings
Utilitarian reasoning can be applied to this circumstance to arrive at a reasonable solution. Utilitarian philosophy states that the answer to most dilemmas is found in the solution that maximizes utility or happiness while reducing or eliminating and hardship – the greatest good for the greatest number. While an argument could be made that an individual has the right to use drugs under utilitarian principles, the negative impact on peer employees and the business at large trumps that argument.
Utilitarian thought requires consideration of the group as superb to the individual’s liberties. The hardship and suffering imposed on other people and the business as an entity allow the argument for employers to require drug screening.
Cranford. (n.d.). Drug Testing and the Rights to Privacy: Arguing the Ethics of Workplace Drug Testing. University of Southern California.