Drug testing in the workplace

Companies in the US lose as much as $82bn in productivity each year because of drug abuse. Drug users are more likely to be involved in workplace accidents and more likely to file compensation claims, but drug testing is still relatively low on most company's priority lists.

by The New York Times
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Part of the reason is that few employers believe that their staff are abusing drugs. Others are reluctant to introduce random drug testing because of fears over hurting workplace morale.

However, one drug testing firm, Quest Diagnostics, says that almost 6% of employees randomly tested for drugs show a positive result. The figure for job applicants testing positive averages at 4%.

The prevalence of drug testing is growing, but another trend is pre-employment screening. This is seen as cheap and also a method of deterring drug users from even applying for work.

The financial incentives for enforcing a drug-free workplace include a fall in workers compensation claims and a reduction in insurance premiums.

In the US, it is legal to test employees and job candidates, and taking action against someone because of drug use is not considered discrimination.

Aiming for a drug-free workplace
Source: New York Times May 10
Author: Dalia Fahmy
Reviewed by Jennifer Whitehead

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime