Employment Drug Testing
Drugs in the United States are a major concerned in the workplace. Governmental agencies, Fortune 500 businesses and other organizations in the private sector have been struggling with ways to deal with the problem. The primary objectives for these agencies and organizations are to be productive, to function in the best possible manner without wasting time and effort, and to provide a healthy and safe environment in the workplace. The ongoing drug use by workers in our nation creates a problem for employers, consumers, and other workers. I am going to discuss the brief history of employment drug testing, types of drug testing, legal ...view middle of the document...
Employers accept the idea that drug testing will be the vehicle to eliminate any doubts of any manager or supervisor when it comes to an employee that might be missing too many days from work and whose performance has change completely. (Crow 1994).
Drug testing dates back to the 1970s, when several companies began marketing the relatively low cost scientific processes they were manufacturing to detect drugs in urine. These processes were originally used by crime laboratories, hospitals and drug therapy programs, but their use was expanded in the early 1980s to include the U.S. military and a collection of private employers. By 1985, drug testing had become a more common practice in an effort to combat substance abuse in the workplace (Bureau of National Affairs, 1986).
In March of 1986, the Commission on Organized Crime recommended that drug testing be conducted for the entire federal workforce. Estimates were as high as 400,000 for the number of federal workers that would be tested for drug use. Later that year, Executive Order 12564 was issued; it required that the United States largest employer, federal government, to lead the way in achieving drug free workplaces (U.S. White House, 1989). It called for each executive agency to prepare a plan to do the following actions:
(1) State the policy regarding the agency’s reaction to drug use.
(2) Specify the role of employee assistance programs in helping drug users.
(3) Provide for training to identify and address illegal drug use by employees
(4) Articulate a process for treatment referrals.
(5) Provide for the identification of illegal drug users through testing.
On November 18, 1988 The Drug Free Workplace Act was enacted. This legislation applied to federal contractors with individual procurement contracts of $100,000, or more and to direct recipients of federal grants of any amount. The act requires that the employer certify that he or she will provide a drug free workplace in accordance with the directives of the act. However, it does not require drug testing or searches of suspected offenders.
Drug testing is being used more and more by employers. In 1985 only 18 percent of Fortune 500 companies drug tested their employees. By 1991 this number more than double to 40 percent. In 1988 The American Management Association surveyed these companies and there was an increase on pretesting of applicants and testing of current employees for drugs. Compare to the 1987 survey, there was a rise of 10 percent in companies that drug tested job applicants and increased of 8 percent for testing of current employees. The increase continued and 48 percent of Fortune 500 companies by 1991 used some type of drug testing. Companies with 250 employees or more had drug testing increased from 1988 at 32 percent to 46 percent by 1991 according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Hartwell 1996).
Types of Drug Testing
These types of drug...