The United States workforce has long upheld a reputation for the highest quality paired with the refusal to cut corners. A key facet of maintaining this reputation is to ensure that organizations within the country are committed to preserving a safe, healthy, and productive work environment for their employees.
Since the mid-1980’s, companies across the public and private sector have placed a priority on keeping their workplace free of drug use. Currently, 62% of all United States employers have a drug testing policy for this very purpose.
Drug testing in the workplace is far from an apples-to-apples process. Each company, agency, and institution has a unique set of employees, workflows, risks, demands, and all kinds of factors that impact how the organization is run. While some drug testing programs can work wonders, others can be completely ineffective.
In order for a drug testing program to adequately support a thriving workplace, employers need to fully understand what the process entails, the goals it will achieve, and how to properly implement it for the long haul.
This writing will go in-depth to explain the backgrounds of the major drug categories that organizations test for, how the concept of drug testing has evolved over the years, and what the future of this process looks like. Here is everything you need to know about workplace drug testing in the United States.
While there are many worthwhile advantages to implementing a drug testing program in the workplace, there can be a number of drawbacks attached.
1. The Cost
Depending on the extensiveness of the drug testing program, drug kits can be very expensive. For this reason, organizations must critically analyze why exactly a program would be beneficial. Furthermore, they need to have hard numbers for why it makes fiscal sense.
Has drug use been a big enough threat to productivity?
How often will drug tests be administered?
Will the healthcare premiums be lowered enough to justify the overhead costs?
2. Drug Testing Can Have an Adverse Impact on Employee Morale
While some may view drug testing as the employer’s commitment to providing a safe work environment, others may see it as an authoritative statement. Prior to implementing a drug testing program, employers need to examine the rationale. For example, if employees are working with heavy machinery that can cause injury or death to themselves and others, drug testing can be easily justified.
3. Employees Might View Drug Testing as a Violation of Privacy
If there is no probable cause, drug testing may be seen as unconstitutional, especially in urine and hair testing, which can detect drug usage from weeks (or months) prior. If an employee used drugs on their own time in a situation not relevant to work, they can still test positive when they are not under the influence. In this instance, the main argument is that the activities of an employee during his or her personal time is not the business of the employer.
Currently, the United States is in the midst of a transitional period. With big changes in Washington D.C. comes changes to drug testing regulations.