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Group 4 - 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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Drug Testing is an invasion of privacy.
by Nicolas Philippou

Where has privacy gone, one of our more fundamental rights? Where is the respect that the human beings deserve? They entered our houses and our lives (through the use of credit card buying history and cookies in our computers, companies know almost everything about us), they entered in our minds when they electronically monitor us at work. And now they want to entered our bodies as well. Why do we have to sacrifice so much in the name of productivity or profit? Why to we have to give a part of our selves, whether this is a sample of blood, a though, a habit? Private life should remain private. Unless it affects the productivity and nature of work, nobody has the right in advance to deprive you of that. What if in a few years the technology will allow as to monitor every cornet of our planet? Are we going to accept that just to make earth a place where nobody will be able to do "wrong"? It seams to me, like the employees are always the enemy of the company's interests and those of the shareholders, and so the companies must continuously come with new ways to protect themselves.

Posted on May 10 2000, 09:19 PM

Drug Testing is Acceptable, but has its Limits
by Samuel Lex

Like Sungho, I was tasked with taking a stand against corporate drug testing. Prior to this assignment, I was completely in favor of it. I still am in favor of it but I now realize that there are certain limitations.

There is no question that drug testing is necessary for firms that deal with the safety of others. Also, I still don't believe that testing is "unethical" in any way. But, the main point that I want to make is that testing probably isn't necessary for many of the firms that use it. If a firm doesn't deal with "safety, has had no major drug related infractions in the past, and hasn't seen a decline in work performance, it really doesn't need to test its employees. (preparing the presentation really made me question the usefulness of "random testing.")

However, if a firm finds it necessary to use testing, it must communicate the reasons why with its employees (basically for the same reasons that I outlined in my response to the electronic monitoring debate). Also, If we are going to continue to use testing, we must be committed to perfecting the technology used to conduct the tests. This will help to prevent "false positives."

Posted on May 08 2000, 11:45 AM

Corporate Drug Testing
by Thierry Forin

Drug testing... Drug, what do we mean by drug?

A recent controversial study released by the French Minister of Health showed that cigarettes and alcohol were more dangerous to health than cannabic products (weed, "teush", oil). Likewise, serious researchs commissioned by the European Union demonstrated that chocolate had some addictive properties and could be considered as a drug as well. Can you imagine that, a minute: "no, I didn't get this job because I was chocolate positive".

Another reason why I'm against drug testing is that we're supposed to live in a free society and people who consume drugs know what they're doing. There's no freedom without responsibility. They know the harm these drugs can cause, they're not kids and they don't need their employers to tell them "you know, it's bad for you".

But I guess the main reason why I'm against drug testing is that it hasn't been proven yet that drug consumption affects job performance. It is socially accepted that you can arrive at work either tipsy (after a business lunch where you had too much wine) or hangover in the morning.
I cannot imagine these people to be very productive those days while they would have passed the drug tests.
Someone who smoked weed the night before is completely "clean" (I mean, has completely recovered) the next day and will be able to perform his/ her duties normally. However, he or she will fail the test and could get into trouble.

What is fair? What matters to the employers? How performant their employees are or what they do out of the workplace? This latter scenario is a real intrusion in the privacy of individuals.

Finally, if the corporation decides to proceed, the drug testing procedures must be fair and concern everybody in the company, including senior and top management.
The executives, if they want to be credible, must show the example and submit themselves to the same tests. Likewise, the same punitions must be applied regardless of the position occupied and across the different layers of the company.
That's the only way this process can achieve fairness.

Posted on May 07 2000, 04:27 PM

My arguments against Drug testing
by Sungho Ko

Our team presented in class that drug testing could not detect use of drug properly.

Of course, many of students agree that use of illegal drug is crime and do harm drug user. And I also really want people not to use drug for their health and society.
But drug testing in company is another argument. Ą°Does drug testing can detect correctly drug user?" As our team already mentioned in class, the answer is negative. That is, About 10%-30% of workers are falsely accused of drug use. In this case, the workers who are falsely accused would possibly frustrate this wrong results. LetĄŻs think about this case, suppose you were caught flu, and used the medicine that heals your cold, and next day, your company demanded you to have drug testing. Unfortunately, you were detected drug user and suspect your behaviors. How you frustrate you are! Actually, some of drug testing gives these side effects to the employees.

As you already mentioned, some of companies use drug testing to screen pregnancy, clinical depression, and diabetes. Even though at first, employers have basic goals for drug testing, they use the drug testing as other intentions, not detecting drug user. If a female were refused getting a job since she is pregnancy, it will be critical violation of equal opportunity. ItĄŻs a crime, because the company violates laws in which U.S. constitution guarantees equal oppurtuniy or basic human rights. Of course, the employers would not explain the reasons not to select her.

Therefore, we need to find different ways to reduce drug using among the employees. Actually, from the article that I read, the authors insist that education on employees is effective method to reduce the drug using. Through the education, we can effectively prevent drug using. And this way is more beneficial to the employers due to low cost. Through this method, the company need not worry about the troubles with employees.

Posted on May 07 2000, 02:17 PM

I agree that testing is wrong
by Brenda Mikeo

While I can see the value of drug testing in certain industries and for certain jobs that are closely related to the safety of others (pilot, truck driver, etc.), I think in general it is wrong. As Sungho wrote, the rate of false positives is very high. And even though many drugs are illegal, is it the corporation's duty to enforce the law? Corporations do not administer tests for other illegal activities. I think that evaluation based on performance only is the best way to judge an employee's contribution to a company.

Posted on May 07 2000, 03:41 PM


Agree that drug testing is valid only for certain job scenarios
by Shibani Chakravorti

I totally agree to what Brenda wrote about when drug testing is OK, whereas when it is not. Besides just the issue of false positives, there is also the issue of detecting pregnancy. Now many of us know that once a woman is detected positive with pregnancy in the workplace, many things affect her evaluation. Therefore, I really am against drug testing unless it is really really needed for a specific job, or creates a safe work environment (like the case of a pilot etc.).

Posted on May 09 2000, 08:59 AM


Madison fire department
by Chuan-Yen Hu

The news media covered a lot of the drug problem in Madison fire department during the last several weeks. In front of such news, do you still think we live in a fully funtional society? Does the fire seem to be more dangeous to us? Do you still think drug test is not necessary?

I think drug test is necessary, especially for fire fighters, policemen, and soldiers. Their jobs directly affect the safety of our lives. The drug test frequency should be higher and the standard should be more strict for them.

Posted on May 07 2000, 10:30 AM

In favor of drug testing
by Shengying Xu

I presented in class that drug testing is ethical. My personal opinion holds the same. However, I do agree with what the second group pointed out that currently, many companies use drug testing irresponsibly. For example, they use it for pregnancy test to exclude pregnant women. For those specific irrsponsible behaviors, I believe it to be unethical. But the false practice of drug testing does not hurt the fundamental argument of the overall drug testing being ethical.

One thing I do notice is that in some European countries, using drugs is legal. I also heard some debates in the United States to legalize drugs. It is a very tough call since historically, drug usage was legal, and currently U.S. have to spend billions to put drug crimials in jails. In certain aspect, I believe tobacco is legalized drug as well except it is less damaging to human health.

Posted on May 05 2000, 03:49 PM

In Favor of Drug Testing
by Kris Scheihing

I personally do not feel that it is unethical to test for drugs in the workplace. Afterall, it is illegal to use drugs. Whether the employee is a casual user or an addict, he/she knows the risks involved with using drugs and has chosen to use them anyway. If an employee uses drugs and causes harm to other people or to property while he/she is at work, the company will be held liable. Drug testing can be viewed as a form of insurance to protect from liablitiy.

However, I think it is important that the company has proper procedures in place to deal with the drug tests. For example, in the case of positive results (whether it is correct or a false positive), there should be a procedure for retesting and there should be absolute confidentiality. If an employee tests positive for drugs, his/her boss, the HR dept., etc. should not know about the results until they have been confirmed and the proper steps have been taken (whether that be termination, drug rehabilitation, etc.)

Posted on May 05 2000, 11:26 AM

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, 09:58 AM

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