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Group 2 - Corporate Drug Testing (Topic #2)


Discussion Topic: "Corporate drug testing of both current and prospective employees is ethical." Discuss your position on this ethical issue with your group, and use some of the following questions to help direct the discussion.
  1. What are your position(s) and supporting arguments on this issue? 
  2. How do you evaluate, weigh and balance these arguments in establishing your positions? 
  3. What is the group's "general" position on this issue? 
  4. How would you deal with this issue in the real business world? 
For help, email allan.jeong@doit.wisc.edu

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Posted on May 14 2000, 07:24 PM


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It's a BBS message board community web program, but pays me money to use it! I'm really excited about this new Web program which helps keep my visitors happy and stay in my web site. Not like other free message board, I get paid for using their BBS message board. You can also place a BBS on your site and start making money too!


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Posted on May 12 2000, 08:04 AM


question
by Kat Himes

I have a question for you. Maybe this was mentioned in the debate, but how much advance warning must companies give employees who will be drug tested? Or, can drug testing be done on the spot? Is there any legislation for this?

Posted on May 10 2000, 06:59 AM


question
by Kat Himes

I have a question for you. Maybe this was mentioned in the debate, but how much advance warning must companies give employees who will be drug tested? Or, can drug testing be done on the spot? Is there any legislation for this?

Posted on May 10 2000, 06:59 AM


random drug testing?
by Jeremy Menard

If drug tests are to be random, it seems to me counterintuitive that only one shift or level(type) of employee were forced to take drug tests. If fairness is of major importance then random selection should be applied. Or better yet, test those employees who have specific symptoms. Suspicion warrants testing. If drug testing is based upon suspicion, then the symptoms that managers look for should be posted for all employees to see. In other words, employees should be able to know beforehand what constitutes suspicious behavior.

Jeremy

Posted on May 09 2000, 03:18 PM


what is the company's role?
by yaron david

The companies’ objective or role is not to act as an official law enforcement agency for the government. Companies are not created in order to catch individuals who violate the law. The companies’ objective is to maximize profits, create consistent products, and maintain a safe work environment. If these objectives are achieved then the company should not need to emphasize upper managements personal beliefs on how an employee’s lifestyle should be conducted away from work. That falls within the responsibility of the individual, the state, and the government laws, not the individual companies.

Posted on May 08 2000, 08:08 PM


response to all
by Kat Himes

OK,

Here are my thoughts:

To play devil's advocate to Yaron's last message, Yaron mentioned for-profit companies only in that the goal of companies is to maximize profit. So, does that mean that it is ok for a not-for-profit to not drug test, since its objective is not to maximize profits?

Also, what kind of drugs are we talking about here. Where are the statistics coming from that say marijuana affects productivity? I can see the point of testing for cocaine, opiates, and hallucinagens, but does marijuana really affect job performance?

Furthermore, I also wonder what the company uses the drug tests for. If someone fails, then are they terminated? Does it depend on the company and the position? Should it depend on the position? If only some companies tested for drugs and others did not, then would employees who do drugs flock to the companies that did not drug test? Would a company drug test before the employee began his/her shift to ensure good performance? Is the drug test just a matter of liability? Should the employee get arrested for drug use, as drugs are illegal?

I guess I take the position that as long as an employee has excellent job performance, then there really is no need to test for drug use. As in my comment on the first debate, supervisors should have enough contact with their employees to "know" whether employees are unproductive or show signs of drug use. Employees should then be talked to, rather than terminated.

Posted on May 07 2000, 08:56 PM


How about Alcohol?
by David Allen

Kat, I liked your comments. I just have a couple things to add...

I think we can recognize that some drugs are more powerful than others. However, I don't believe its so easy to identify "bad drugs" vs. non-productivity effecting drugs. Like alchohol, marijuana is probably not going to affect your performance if done in moderate use. However, we also know that alcohol can get out of hand...and so can marijuana -- so where do we draw the line?

If we agree that the firm's responsibility is to maximize profits, then I think you have to look at drug testing as an investment decision by the company. Therefore, we should really only be concerned with the cost of testing vs. the cost of not testing. What the company chooses to use the test for, and how they conduct them, should be driven by what's best for the company's profits. If you believe in Adam Smith, the invisible hand should see to it that the drug testing's efforts will come back to be a benefit to the community.

Posted on May 08 2000, 07:23 AM

Respond


drug testing should be conditional
by yaron david

Drug testing benefits the company, the stockholders, the customers, and the employees. Drug testing should be conducted only in situations where “clear evidence” suggests that a worker’s drug use may in fact endanger the company. The company benefits from such an arrangement because its primary goal is to maximize profits and future potential profitability. A company may have several goals presented in their mission statement, however, each for-profit company’s primary goal is to increase their profit potential and secure stockholders’ best interests by encouraging a good return on shareholder investment. A drugged employee may be a liability for the company. Whether it be a safety issue or an insurance liability issue, a company benefits from having sober employees.

Posted on May 06 2000, 12:57 PM


I agree, but...
by David Allen

Yaron, I agree with you that the firm's responsibility is to maximize profits. Therefore, drug testing is a logical investment for all stakeholders.

In addition to the "clear evidence" case, I would add that testing should also be done up front, prior to the employee starting work. Waiting for just a "clear evidence" situation forces the company to incur the costs of dealing with a drug-related problem in the future.

Posted on May 08 2000, 06:49 AM

Respond


Clear Evidence
by Christina Waskan

I also agree with the idea that corporate drug testing is not only ethical but also necessary; but conducting drug testing only in situations where there is clear evidence of drug abuse is cost effective and may lead to issues of discrimination. Like, David Allen mentioned, if the company waits for evidence to present itself, then the company is also going to be forced to incur some costs associated with the employee's drug abuse. I'm also thinking that employees may feel discriminated against if the 'clear' evidence turns out to be not so clear after all. Random testing would eliminate such problems.

Posted on May 10 2000, 07:53 AM

Respond


Cost of detection
by Susannah Erler

Hello,
I was wondering if someone in the group which debated against drug testing could explain/elaborate on one of the statistics you had in the presentation. You said that the cost of one actual detection of drugs is $77,000. What is included in that number?
Thanks,
Susannah

Posted on May 05 2000, 02:15 PM


drug testing and social responsibility
by Jeremy Menard

Group 2,

What truly motivates companies to conduct drug tests? Are they doing it to ensure better performance of their employees? Should we care whether a company is selfishly motivated to protect themselves through public relations? If the only result of testing positive for a drug test is termination of employment then what responsibility is the company taking for their employees? Is there a social contract between employer and employee. What if the rehabilitation of that employee is worthwhile to the company's bottom line (profit)? I guess the big question is if a company conducts drug tests, what are they using them for and does it matter?

Jeremy

Posted on May 05 2000, 12:18 PM


Preventing rather than punishing.
by Chounhee Choi

Class,

As our team said during the presentation, we are all against drugs. Any kind, any mehod, but we also against the way to prevent that. Drug test will show some instant effects in reducing the rate of working field drug uses but it can not basically root out the drug use in this society.

Preventing is much easiler and cheaper than healiing. As we could see the smoke-free working field case. Drug test is not for preventing possible losses, it is just for punishing.

For preventing, education will be one of the best way. Education is much more effective when targeted to the youth.

Posted on May 05 2000, 09:33 AM


What should companies do
by Ram Muthaiyah

Based on my previous comment, I feel that if companies want to actually do something to reduce drug abuse in the workplace, they should first set strict policies. Drug testing should be a part to deter first time users. They should also provide training to managers and employees about drugs. For example, Laura was talking about the ethics training program in class. Companies should do the same for Drug abuse.

What do other think.

Ram.

Posted on May 05 2000, 07:43 AM


Companies should not do "Drug Training"
by David Allen

Ram, interesting thought.

I guess if the investment in the training program led to a reduction in drug use, and therefore an increase in working productivity...then it would be worthwhile. But if you already have drug testing in place, theoretically you wouldn't have to spend money on reducing drug use.

Perhaps you've come up with an alternative to drug testing. On the other hand, i think doing both testing and training would be too high an investment for a firm to make. What do you think?

Posted on May 08 2000, 07:34 AM

Respond


Why conduct tests when users can get around it.
by Ram Muthaiyah

There have been many arguments made as to why do corporations want to test inspite of tests not being accurate, users can get around the tests, and so on. So why do corporations test for drugs.

I think it is a way of protecting themselves against costly law suits. For example, if a customer is affected due to a drug problem of one of the employees, the customer can sue the company. On the other hand, companies can use drug testing policies to create an image that they are doing everything in their potential to safe gaurd the customer. By dong this, companies are actually selffish. Their main goal here being to reduce costs - cost of a lawsuit might be much more than the cost of doing a basic tests for its employees. What do others think of this.

Ram

Posted on May 05 2000, 07:40 AM


Ram, see posting....
by David Allen

Ram, one of my responses to another posting could have been a response to this one. If you want my opinion, see the second paragraph under "What about Alcohol" post.

Posted on May 08 2000, 07:27 AM

Respond


Effects of drugs
by Ram Muthaiyah

Hi Gang,

I too like the idea of drug testing as long as it is not invasive. Privacy is a big concern but the employee has the option of not working for the company and can work for someone else.

Once thing in particular that i wanted to point out about todays discussion is the effects of drugs. The group arguing against drug testing stated that the employee has a couple of cigarettes on the weeknd and is back in work fully productive. I donot agree with this point. There are surveys that show that the effects of drugs like Marijuana exist long after even 24hrs of taking it. This being the case, productivity does get affected. Also this is more serious when the employee is responsible for the safety of many other.

I want to conclude this by saying that the safety of the companies customers and others should not be compromised for the sake of privacy. This is a life or death issue.

Posted on May 04 2000, 12:50 PM


Casual users
by Kat Himes

Hey gang,

I guess my opinion on this topic is that drug use is ok as long as it does not interfere with job performance. However, I have not decided who decides whether job performance is affected.

During the debate today, I thought about the casual user, and the second group's point that the casual user has a more difficult time masking drug use. I think the point was that the casual user would not have as much access to web information on how to pass urinalysis, etc. This is not the case, as I know casual users who have plenty of information on passing urinalyses. What do you think?

Also, I think that drug tests are good for factory and manual labor type of employees, because job safety is definently a concern. I wonder what the rest of you think about testing CEO's and upper management. It seems interesting that if the CEO fails the urinalysis, then this news would make headlines, but if a manual laborer in the same company fails the test it is not as big of a deal.

Let me know what you think.

Posted on May 04 2000, 09:59 AM


casual users and access to information
by Jeremy Menard

Group 2,

I agree that casual users should have a as much access to information as addicts. As long as the casual user knows that they will be tested, they should have enough foresight to seek out information that will help them pass the test. Would the state of mind of addicts cause them to be careless in searching out information on how to pass a drug test? Let me know what you think.

Jeremy

Posted on May 04 2000, 12:20 PM

Respond


Read me!
by Allan Jeong

ELABORATE & COMMENT ON EACH OTHER's MESSAGES:
To promote true discussion and the exchange of ideas, read the messages already posted to the bulletin board, and "post replies" to the messages to elaborate or comment on the ideas of other group members.

INITIATING A NEW LINE OF DISCUSSION:
If you want to initiate a new line of discussion or message thread, click on "Post new message" off the main page.

Posted on Apr 28 2000, 09:51 AM

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