Many companies require drug testing of employees for several reasons. However, an employer has several things to consider prior to implementing drug testing in their company. Several reasons an employer should drug test employees include: employees who are drug free are more likely to have less tardiness, generally have increased production, improved attention to daily tasks, fewer accidents, and drug testing can serve as a means for the employer to have a solid defense if an employee is injured or takes the employer to court. However, an employee can also file a “claim of invasion of privacy” for being forced to drug test, if he or she so chooses (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 146).
In order to support a claim of invasion of privacy, the individual must show that her or his privacy was invaded by (1) unreasonable intrusion upon her or his seclusion; (2) appropriation of her or his name or likeness; (3) unreasonable publicity of her or his private facts; and (4) publicity that unreasonably places the individual in a false light before the public (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 146).
In general, there are two reasons an employer should drug test an employee: first, if the employer believes that employee is currently using drugs, or second, if the “employee’s job responsibility involves public safety or the safety of others” (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 147). In addition, the employer must ensure he or she is aware of all federal, state, and local laws that surround drug testing employees to ensure he or she is not violating any of the laws. For example, San Francisco has passed a law that an employer must have a “reasonable suspicion based on evidence of job impairment or danger to others before testing is deemed appropriate” (Bennett-Alexander & Hartman, 2007, p. 146). In an area with laws such as this, an employer cannot require drug testing during preemployment or require random drug testing for employees.
Several instances may occur where an employer may require drug testing, such as: during the application process, random testing, scheduled testing during physical exams, testing after being involved in a workplace accident, and it can be used to monitor employees after they have received treatment for drug addiction (Lawyers.com, 2011). From what I have read, for some instances of drug testing (i.e. random testing and post-accident testing) an employer must have a written policy in place. However, if an employer has a reasonable suspicion the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on the job (i.e. slurred speech, jittery actions, alcohol on the breath, etc.) then the employer can require a drug test (Bendavid-Arbiv, 2001).
Does your employer require drug testing?
Bendavid-Arbiv, S.M. (2001). Employment law: Employers must enforce drug-testing policies in a way that minimizes exposure to tort claims. Retrieved from http://library.findlaw.com/2001/Dec/19/130860.html