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Drug Testing Employees and Applicants: Ethical or not - Research Paper Example

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Drug testing of employees and applicants remains the issue of hot public debate. Lawsuits and suggestions concerning drug testing in the workplace are flooding U.S. courts and governing bodies. …
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Drug Testing Employees and Applicants: Ethical or not
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Download file to see previous pages The issue of drug testing in the workplace exposes the ongoing tension between employee rights for privacy and the employer’s right to discharge the worker and terminate the at-will employment agreement. On the one hand, drug testing is believed to violate the Fourth Amendment and the basis premises of the U.S. Labor law protection. On the other hand, employers have the legal right to monitor and evaluate employee performance and address illicit drug issues, especially when it directly subjects employees and the community to health dangers (e.g., the use of drugs by policemen, firefighters, pilots, train conductors, etc.). This being said, and taking in consideration employers’ obligation to guarantee safety in the workplace, drug testing can be considered legal and ethical when it is based on reasonable suspicion and has the potential to adversely impact the safety of the employees, other workers, and the rest of community. The prevailing majority of employers in the United States are not required to test their employees and applicants for drug use. Moreover, most states have already enacted laws and regulations limiting the use of drug testing in the workplace (United States Department of Labor, 2010). Even the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 does not make drug testing a mandatory condition of employment (United States Department of Labor, 2010). Nonetheless, the debate surrounding the issue of workplace drug testing continues to persist, because employees struggle for their rights, and of course not all the workers consider that the employer’s right to test them for using drug should exist. ...
e workplace policies, to reduce the costs of illicit drug use in the workplace and prevent the dangers associated with drug abuse in the workplace (Occupational Drug Testing, 2011). Employees, in turn, want to preserve the right to privacy and confidentiality, because testing them for using drugs at the workplace really violates their rights. More often than not, drug testing is considered as illegal, unethical, and similar to unreasonable seizures and searches protected by Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. However, a number of other laws and regulations also apply to the case, and courts do not always accept employee side in drug testing debates. Dozens of employees in the U.S. filed lawsuits against their current or former employers in terms of drug testing in the workplace. More often than not, employees argue that drug testing is illegal and unethical, violates their right to privacy and cannot be considered a valid reason for employment termination. In Luck v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (1990). 218 Cal. App. 3d1 [267 Cal. Rptr. 618] the petitioner Barbara A. Luck filed a lawsuit against her employer for terminating her contract after she refused to pass a mandatory drug test. Luck was rewarded almost half million dollars in rewards and compensations, and the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the lower circuit court (Luck v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (1990). 218 Cal. App. 3d1 [267 Cal. Rptr. 618]). The decision was based on the premise that drug testing violates the Fourth Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Later in 2009, a North Carolina Appellate Court declared mandatory testing of teachers in the state unconstitutional (ACLU, 2010). The decision was based on another statute – the Louisiana constitution – which grants ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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