Should I Be Drug Testing Employees? The Pros and Cons

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.”

5 thoughts on “Should I Be Drug Testing Employees? The Pros and Cons

  1. I had heard that many businesses, small and big were giving drug tests to their employees. In the article you stated that drug testing can help you screen out potential liabilities to your company. Especially since it is so important for businesses to save every penny they can, a drug test may be worth it.

  2. It’s good to know that when it comes to a company drug testing their employees, there are a lot of different benefits to doing this. I like how the main one is to make sure that there are not highly liable for a workplace accident. To me it’s great to have a company that does all that they can to make their employees and customers safe.

  3. Thanks for the information on drug testing. The company I work for is trying to decide if they want to start drug testing, and I thought I would look at some information. I like that you mentioned that 10 to 20 percent of workplace accidents are caused by drugs or alcohol. That is a large number, I think it is definitely important to avoid that as much as possible, so drug testing seems like a good idea. I will pass this information on, thanks.

  4. Thank you for the information!This is our health at first so we need to take care of our health and respect our job.
    Drugs never give us money and independence so have no sense to do it.I support the idea of drug testing! It is a very useful article and I agree that most of the accidents happen because of drugs and alcohol. This is a really good idea I hope soon every employer will provide the test.

  5. I could possibly be on the positive side of having the employees be tested first before being hired. Yes, it will cost the company in the beginning, but in return, you will end up working with responsible and healthy people. Nonetheless, there’s always an exemption to the rule as the need for it arises. Thanks!

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