Get Email Updates • Email this Topic • Print this Page
Ok, well now this statement goes off in another direction. On the issue of drug prohibition, my mind is not so made up; I can see many good reasons for legalizing and controlling all recreational drugs. However, this is a different argument.
Currently, these drugs are illegal, and the drug tests will assess the character of the employee by determining whether or not they are willing to break the law; if your employee tests positive for cocaine , which carries quite a prison sentence for possessing or selling, then you are going to wonder if he will then not hesitate to break other laws...stealing company information or goods, for instance. Testing positive for some highly addictive and expensive drug like cocaine or heroin could also be an indication that you will be a liability down the road for other obvious reasons.
We have a clear legal right to privacy in respect to the government, that's certain. But when it comes to willingly taking a job at a company, where part of your job involves submitting to a possible random drug test, then that is privacy you are willingly giving up when you take the job. When employees engage in illegal or risky behavior out of the workplace, it can reflect poorly on the company itself, and can be a cause for liability concerns. Whether or not drugs should be legal is another issue.
I am not aware of the government directly using companies to stamp out drug use. The government has made the drugs illegal, but companies drug test by their own choice. There have been studies done which support drug testing, in that the cost of testing is offset by the gain in productivity by hiring sober workers. This is a cost-benefits analysis where obviously many companies have determined that they do need drug-testing to be efficient.
The government compels certain industries to drug test. It's law.
The issue of drug legalization is a different argument, yes. But that's not the argument I'm making.
You cannot equate drug use with theft. They are fundamentally different.
No, an employee's drug use outside of the workplace does not create liability problems for the company.
The government compels certain industries to drug test. It's law.
As for the studies you mention, I take issue with them. Typically, they lump all illegal drugs together which necessarily skews the results. Cocaine, marijuana and heroin are each vastly different.
So what argument are you making? I agree that maybe drugs should be legalized and controlled. I also agree that it's not very nice that companies do drug testing; it is an invasion of privacy (though we agree to it when taking the job), and is uncomfortable and humiliating. I can still understand why they do it though. Do you want all drug testing to be illegal?
I'm not equating it; but it is well-known that illegal drug use is correlated with committing other crimes. Of course this doesn't mean most drug users are going to commit other crimes, but on average, they are more likely to than non-drug users. This can be a cause for concern.
Concerning legal liability in this instance, in most cases, you're right. But I'm talking about the liability that occurs (legally or socially) as a result of having illegal drug users in your workplace. The correlation between their drug use and their likelihood to commit crimes (that could damage the company, legally, or by its reputation), is there.
Certain industries, yes. This practice is not widespread...it mostly has to do with professional drivers, or other people in transportation, and some federal employees, as far as I know. Whether or not you take issue with the studies, this is how the company will view drug users. Regardless of the drug they use, they are more likely to be less productive and engaged in other crimes than non-drug users.
Would you think it might be beneficial to drug test airline pilots? How about the doctor who might be performing surgery on you next week? Drivers of your kids' school bus?
Now, in theory, I might like to agree with you that people can be responsible with drugs and as long as they conduct themselves on the job well, then they are good to go. But what if that school bus that crashed and killed some children was being driven by a heroin addict, whose reaction time might have been just a little bit slower due to his drug use? Is it better to just err on the side of individual liberties, even if it's at the expense of public safety?
My argument is that we should not drug test elected officials because such a practice would promote criticizing public officials based on their personal life as opposed to their record as public servants.
Again, the studies that support the conclusion that drug users are more likely to commit other crimes lumps all illegal drug use together. Those studies see no difference between a marijuana user and a heroin user, despite the vast differences.
Is this correlation any different for alcohol and other legal drug users? For example, who is more likely to steal - the guy who smokes pot on the weekend or the guy who eats his xanax prescription like candy? My guess is the latter.
Hold on - the drug does matter. The studies you mention do not distinguish between the type of illegal drug. Thus, they do not investigate particular illegal drugs and the correlation to committing other crimes, thus there is no evidence to suggest that all illegal drug users are more likely to commit other crimes.
Depends upon the drug. There is also something else to consider - drug tests do not tell you when someone uses. I don't want my kid's bus driver to drink on the job, but if he/she drinks off the job I dont care. If the bus driver uses marijuana or cocaine off the job, I don't care. If they use these drugs on the job, then I have a problem.
Yes. Recall that old Ben Franklin quote? It's always better to side with individual liberty.
Practically all the media/masses do now anyway is criticize officials based on their personal life...how many people even know about their record now? At least drug use is one aspect of the personal life that indicates a serious issue of character. If you are an official who is supposed to uphold law, then regardless of whether or not you agree with the law's merit, you should do so. If you are committing crimes on your own time, then it seriously brings into question whether or not you are suitable for upholding the law when you go to work.
Yea, probably. But from a legal perspective, they are all illegal substances, and that is the main point. You are a lawbreaker if you smoke pot, or if you shoot heroin. Until pot is legalized, then it will continue to be lumped in with other illegal drugs.
Yea, it's unfair. In this country you can be locked up for 10+ years for shooting meth, yet if you have money and insurance, you can get nearly the same high by duping your psychologist and popping large amounts of adderall. I think the fundamental thing about the drug test though still comes down to determining whether or not you are a law breaker. Companies don't want law breakers.
On average, all illegal drug users are more likely to commit other crimes compared to all non-illegal drug users...maybe the marijuana users are less than the heroin, etc...maybe marijuana users are even less likely than non-drug users. Probably not, but, sure, better studies are needed.
Studies also show that long-term drug abuse has negative cognitive effects. Yes, this includes marijuana and alcohol. If you are a regular drug user, even if you are not "high" at certain times, you will have significant amounts of the drug in your system at all times, and there are still cognitive effects taking place.
Yea, I like that quote. But company-mandated drug testing doesn't take away your liberties. You enter into that obligation by choice. Franklin's quote would apply if the government itself is drug-testing people in their privacy in order to prosecute them...a job you take by your own choice, and if you fail the drug test you get fired. You give up the liberty on your own, to the extent that if you decide to work there and also exercise your liberty to get high, you might get fired. You also give up the liberty to relax and have free time between 9am and 5pm willingly, but you can take that liberty back if you don't mind being fired.
Cool, but that's all beside the point.
If an individual company want's to test, that's fine. But that's not the current situation.
It's not beside the point. Most drug testing is a decision made by the individual company. Even if you are only talking about the small percentage of jobs that actually involved government-mandated drug testing, then it still doesn't change the fact that potential employees can simply decide to work somewhere else. If you are so against the idea of drug testing, then there are plenty of other jobs out there for you. No one is forcing anyone to sign up for a job with mandatory testing, just like you are not forced to sign up for any other job that might make you feel uncomfortable or might invade your privacy. We also have at-will employment in this country. If you take a job and are ordered to be randomly drug-tested, you can quit the job.
As for the at-will argument, this has a fundamental flaw. Man is compelled to eat, to provide for his/her family, and to live a modest life. As options become increasingly limited, man has an increasingly limited degree of freedom to make choices regarding employment. Man might not be completely devoid of freedom, but his freedom is being increasingly limited. And, as we all know, injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, and even the slightest decline of freedom presents an immanent threat to all freedom.
I understand the idea of why drug tests might be thought to be necessary but they are flawed in one fundamental way. They are biased to marijuana users. Dangerous drugs like meth, cocaine, heroin, morphine, barbiturates, amphetamines, and alcohol all exit out of the system in pretty much 48 hours or less. On the other hand, marijuana lingers for weeks. The people that are some of the most likely to end up failing the test are probably the least likely to harm others users compared to users of other drugs.
Employers have freedoms also, remember. They have the freedom to conduct annoying, maybe intrusive background checks and personal interviews when hiring employees; they have a right to investigate and hire the best candidate. Drug testing is just one tool that they use to assess these candidates, and it should be their right to do so.
The distinction between those employers who are deserving and undeserving of freedoms is drawn between individually owned enterprises and corporate enterprises. Corporate enterprises suffer from what I call the Nazi complex, whereas individually owned enterprises are more likely to recognize moral concerns. Economics is not the only study relevant to economic decisions. Morality is vital.
I agree, and whole-heartedly support morality! When it comes to businesses though, we can't realistically expect them to have any type of moral standards when conducting themselves. A business is an organization with the sole purpose of making a profit...now we might like to believe that they will engage in charity, help the environment, or do other good deeds, but we know that the ultimate goal is profit. For this we have the law, which imposes the simplest level of "moral" conduct on the business. Unfortunately, powerful corporations inevitably have become influential to the point of realizing "capture" of the legislators who control this law, so in reality many corporations now enjoy greater "freedom" than they should...