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Group 3 - 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? 
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Posted on May 14 2000, 07:24 PM

Have a question for you all
by Ying Li

Do any of you know what will happen to those who get positive results from drug tests? I mean, after a second test.

I am curious what will happen to those people. Are they just fired by their employer? Will they be given a second chance to work if they can prove that they've stopped using drugs within a certain period?

I am thinking of the following pic when writing the paragraph. All drug addicts caught are fired. They are out of job and out of money. However,they still need drugs. What do you think they will do if they need drugs earnestly but cannot find enough money to buy it?

Posted on May 09 2000, 02:32 PM

by Lara Khansa


If they are really drug addicts, they can probably steal money, kill for the money, or what have you. In the best cases, they will quit.

But see, this is not the problem, if they are really willing to steal or kill then they should not be at the workplace in the first place. If those poeple are real addicts, no money will be enough to satisfy their needs, they will probably steal or kill anyways!

Posted on May 10 2000, 10:26 AM


Some Clarification
by Ying Li


I guess you misunderstand my point. I do not say that drug users should be kept in our workplace. My question is whether companies should do something more than simply firing drug users.

A simple illustration will be cleaning our rooms. By throwing dirts out of the window, we can keep our rooms clean. Then, how about the environment as a whole?

I wonder whether there are any places where drug users can be sent to be cured. Maybe companies should take up the responsibilities to do that.

Posted on May 10 2000, 03:18 PM


Social responsability?
by Lara Khansa


Thanks for clarifying your point to me.
To answer your concern, I think we come back to the issue of companies' social reasonability.

To what extent is the company supposed to support its addicted employees, while many other non-addictive people are dying to work more productively? To what extent should the stakeholders suffer the health care expenses of a fellow employee?

Any thoughts?

Posted on May 11 2000, 06:48 AM


Drug test is good!
by Kai Ning

I believe drug test will help the company to establish its "healthy" culture. I like the example of the company president who is drug addicted. The drug test will absolutely be helpful to prevent these issues.

Of course, many problems occurred in current drug test because of the carelessness of the hospital. But these are the areas needs to be improved in drug test.

Posted on May 08 2000, 09:02 PM

Random Testing - What do you think?
by John Foster

I was wondering what other people think about random drug testing. My last employer used random drug testing, and I have always thought it was somewhat ineffective. Since the process is random, the testing could potentially skip over the people who are abusing drugs.

It seems like the only way to determine who is taking drugs within the organization is to have a unannounce drug test for everyone (I am sure there are many potential problems with this method also).

What do you think?

Posted on May 08 2000, 08:42 AM

by Eileen


what do you mean the random drug testing and a unannounce drug test? For my understanding, the random drug test is a unannounce drug test for everyone. My last employer (Nestle R&D center) used this unannounce drug test, and found two employees using drug. It ended up that two people were fired. As you said, it is useful to determine who is taking drugs within the organization.


Posted on May 08 2000, 09:03 AM


by John Foster


Sorry for the confusion. The random drug test used at my last employer randomly selected employees to be tested once a month. In this type of system, a drug abuser could potentially escape the test altogether (if he/she was not ever randomly selected).


Posted on May 08 2000, 09:25 AM


by Joe Barnard

Hey John,

FOr large companies random tests work. I was in the military and they would test by a random choice of the last digit of your SS. They could not test everyone, and you never knew if it would be your turn. I think this process works well for large companies.

Posted on May 09 2000, 06:12 PM


I like it...
by Lara Khansa


See, even if random testing does not always pick the culpable, at least it may push her/him to reduce her/his doses for the fear of being caught. By the way, if testing is random, then eventually they will be picked. They had better start thinking about it.

Posted on May 10 2000, 10:30 AM


Why "politically correct" ???
by Lara Khansa

Sometimes, I become infuriated by the necessity of being politically correct in everything I do and everything I say. Let us face it, addictive drugs (I am talking about non-medical pleasure or fun hard drugs) are awful and they can turn a human being into an animal and later a corpse. Why do we always have to protect society’s bad habits? Drugs are wrong, they should not be a part of our life, YES, people should be discouraged from taking drugs, and YES, companies should screen employees through drug testing.

It is for the sake of the employees in the workplace that companies perform drug testing. Even if the drug screening tests are not perfectly accurate nowadays, they will improve the same way medicine did. All medical surgeries used to be painful like hell but they improved with time. On the other hand, if urine tests reveal other health or state conditions like pregnancies, the law already protects people against discrimination and hopefully the law will improve with time to become more adequate for everybody. About the pregnancy, everyone will know anyways. A big stomach is very hard to hide.

You tell me about the embarrassment of being diagnosed as a drug abuser. Well, you all know the embarrassment of being an addict in our society…

Let us finally agree to clean our society from drug addictions! This includes marijuana users on Friday night! Sorry if I hurt anybody, it is just my opinion…

Posted on May 04 2000, 04:16 PM

Elimination of Drug Addictions is good, but how about the side effect?
by Ying Li


I agree with you in that drug test is good for the purpose of eliminating drugs from the workplace. Actually I think everyone, except addicts, will agree to the point. However, the question is how to deal with the side effects of drug test.

This is kind of similar to taking medicines. We all take medicines to cure sickness and diseases. We know those pills and tablets are good for our health. However, they may also bring sleepiness and other side-effects to us. It's a trade-off. We need to decide which is more important to us, to get rid of the sickness ASAP or to keep away from sleepiness at the exam.

The same thing is true for drug test. A lot of personal information will be revealed by the test. Pregnancy is only one example, and there are several other side-effects. Here comes the critical point: to what extent will the test result be revealed? If it just stays in medical center's file cabinet, then it's fine. However, if HR persons and your managers all have access to the information, things might get a little bit uncomfortable. Image the case of a single female getting pregnant. (You might argue this is unethical. Yes it maybe, but it's another issue.) Do you think it's fair to spread the news around the workplace, especially when that female is doing a good job at her position?

Posted on May 05 2000, 12:01 PM


Discrimination is forbidden
by Lara Khansa

Yin Li,

Medical information should be kept confidential regardless of the setting and regardless of the circumstances. Anti-discriminatory laws forbid companies from being biased vis a vis the medical history of an employee, unless this would really interfere with his job performance.

Just a side note on your statement, becoming pregnant is never a stain a woman should escape. It is natural and an aspect of being alive and productive. If I were to become pregnant, this does not infringe my job performance as a clerk, a design engineer or any other non-physical and safe job. On the other hand, if I work in the x-ray section of a company and I am exposed to lots of radiations and I know this would hurt my fetus, it is my duty as a human being to protect myself and protect my fetus. The bottom line is that discrimination or the uncovering of medical confidentiality without constructive purpose is harshly prosecuted by the law. Drug testing is not to be abolished because of some misuses during its process.

Posted on May 05 2000, 12:28 PM


Good points
by John Foster

Ying and Lara,

You both bring up very good points. I agree that we should try to eliminate illegal drug use in the workplace, and I support drug testing. We must continue to work to ensure that medical information is kept confidential so that it cannot be used to make personnel decisions.

The only worry that I have with drug testing is false positives. I believe every company should give an employee a second chance to pass another test. Some employers only give one test. If you fail it, you are out of luck. I only bring this up as a concern because I was recently drug tested for a job that I will be taking soon. A false positive would have really ruined things for me and my family.

Posted on May 05 2000, 11:27 PM


by Eileen


Usually, company considers the false positive result and provides the second test if the tester requests. As testing method developped, the false positive result becomes less and less. Therefore, do not worry about the false positive result, you will be fine.


Posted on May 06 2000, 07:27 PM


Do we have better way to prevent drug use?
by Jiayu Huang

I agree with Lara to clean our society from drug addictions, I also understand John's concern that false positive would have really ruined things for him and his family. On one side, drug screening tests are not perfectly accurate; on the other side, drug test is not cheap, and 1.2 billions is annually spent on drug tests in the US. Should we consider spending the money more effectively, for example, educating young people not to start using drugs? Drug tests are to catch drug users after they use drugs. Drug addicts often find it difficult to give up using drugs. Nowadays, drug tests are far from accurate and could lead to false positive or false negative; and drug tests may not be the most effective way to prevent drug use.

Posted on May 08 2000, 04:20 PM


Two Questions
by Ying Li

Drug test (especially random test) may be effective in catching drug users and creating a healthy working environment. However, can it really prevent drug usage? If it can, does it mean that we do not need drug test in the future because there will be no one using drugs any more?

Posted on May 09 2000, 02:17 PM


by Joe Barnard

Ying Li,

I think businesses need to use drug testing for two reasons.

1. They could find 'good' people who are using drugs and provide them with some type of help to quit using. I believe most insurance companies would pay for this.

2. Tests could be used to find and remove 'bad' users from the workplace.

Good and bad would be determined by the willingness of the user to quit and change behavior.

Posted on May 09 2000, 06:19 PM


Read me!
by Allan Jeong

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.

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, 09:56 AM

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