From the desk of Monique Bouyer, MBA
All employers share the difficult task of ensuring their staff is performing to their highest expectations. This will often mean randomly screening employees for illegal drug use. While it is vital that managers know their team members are doing their jobs well, requiring employees to participate in drug screenings have some negative connotations as well. It’s often a difficult decision to make for companies that are not required by law to report on such information. Here is a list of the pros and cons of drug testing to help you decide which course of action is best for your team and your business.
Workplace Drug Testing: The Pros
In positions where the safety of the workplace is at risk, it makes a great deal of sense to require drug screening prior to hiring an employee and periodically throughout their tenure with the company. Workers who abuse drugs are less able to be effective on the job. They are often the cause of businesses facing exposure to higher liability to workplace accidents or health risks to co-workers as well.
Per the U.S. Department of Labor, roughly 10 to 20 percent of workers involved in fatal accidents on the job did in fact test positive for illicit drugs and alcohol use. As an employer, screening out potential liabilities through drug tests makes a lot of sense. They also feel there is an added benefit of helping those employees who would otherwise find their lives less fulfilling due to drug addiction and the accompanying financial and emotional well-being provided by successful completion of a recovery program.
Workplace Drug Testing: The Cons
While drug testing can help identify problems before they result in accidents on the job, random workplace drug testing may build resentment among employees who feel the practice indicates a lack of trust on the part of their employer. They can be felt as a violation of their right to privacy and can add to a reputation of an overly “corporate” employer. There are also the costs to consider when deciding whether drug testing is right for your business. The testing itself can be costly in terms of the procedure as well as the lost productivity of the workers.
In some cases, workers who are against drug testing in the workplace may threaten to sue over results costing employers even more. Beyond that, the debatable accuracy of some drug tests can result in false positives that would do harm to worker reputation, or false negatives that fail to identify security risks.
Overall, the pros and cons of workplace drug testing must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If the security of the workplace is dependent on ensuring that workers are not under the influence, then the costs, privacy concerns and even the debatable accuracy may be worth overlooking. But keep in mind these can expose new liabilities that your company would need to address.
For more insight into the value of drug testing employees, connect with the team at PSG Mississippi today.
Monique Bouyer, MBA – PSG General Manager
Monique joined Professional Staffing Group in 2010, first as a Project Manager to help the company develop a Consulting and Interim Professional Contracting niche. She assumed the position of General Manager in 2013 which involves her functioning in many roles as she continues to bring best practices and processes to the company. Monique’s goal is to be instrumental in expanding the reach of PSG and differentiating the company from traditional staffing firms. She says of the PSG team, “We’re all professionals who have worked in varied industries in diverse positions. I believe the combination of our talents, skills and experience gives PSG a distinct edge in the staffing industry.”