Drug Use Information is Rightfully Private

Drug Use Information is Rightfully Private



Drug Use Information is Rightfully Private

            Drug use and information about it are personal matters. Therefore, this should not be shared with the public through testing at the workplace. I hold the opinion that drug testing in the workplace is a violation of the Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights that entitles each individual to his/her own privacy. As much as the exercise is recognized by the Federal laws under the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, it is a significant intrusion of a person’s privacy. The drug tests are in most times carried out through urinalysis, and are extremely humiliating since the person conducting them has to stand and watch as the employee fills the urine cup. Additionally, using the urine as a matrix of the test may lead to the revelation of other medical conditions previously known or unknown to the employee, for example, pregnancy or epilepsy.

            The subject of whether a company should initiate a workplace drug-testing program occupies the most complex social, ethical, moral, commercial and legal considerations (Verstraete, 2011). Drug testing in the workplace is an intrusion of privacy and especially when randomly imposed on the employees. Verstraete (2011) is of the opinion that testing may lead to discrimination amongst the employees, and it could be abused in situations where it reveals other legitimate drug use, mostly prescription drugs or over-the-counter inhalants. He continues to say that the practice, which is an intrusion of privacy, may also reveal more than workplace behavior. For instance, the detection of other drugs like alcohol that may have been taken outside work.

            I believe that the employer is not entitled to the knowledge about employee drug use. The only instances that an employee should take the test are while he/she is joining the company or if the employer has reasonable suspicion of drug use. Ghodse (2005) states that an employer has a legitimate right to ask the employee randomly to take a drug test at work if there is reasonable suspicion of use. Reasonable suspicion includes noticing abnormal behavior, a report from a reliable source, irrefutable evidence, deterioration of work performance, direct observation of related physical symptoms, among others.

            If the drugs used by an employee have no effect on his performance or capability to do his/her duties, then the employer should not be involved. Supporters of the exercise argue that it is a reliable way to improve safety and worker productivity in the workplace. Stepper (2007) however, feels different on the issue. He is of the opinion that urinalysis, the commonly used method, has been imposed on thousands of workers involuntarily. Moreover, it is done without any scientifically controlled study to show its safety or effectiveness in upholding workplace security. He further argues that the tests cannot clearly indicate when or how the drugs were taken, or whether they impair the worker’s ability to do his/her work.

            Moreover, after the introduction of the mandatory testing, many people were found to have switched to drugs that leave the system faster, thereby being hard to detect. Workplace drug testing thereby is not fully justified. The shrewd users cover their tracks by using drugs that are undetectable by the urine tests. As a manager in a company, I would never subject my employees to random drug tests without valid reasons. I believe in respecting the rights of privacy of every citizen, as I would like mine to be respected. I, therefore, strongly hold that drug use information is rightfully private, and as such, nobody should intrude by imposing mandatory workplace tests without reason.


Ghodse, H. (2005). Addiction at work: Tackling drug use and misuse in the workplace. Burlington, VT, USA: Gower.

Stepper, J. (2007). The pros and cons of drug testing. Career Path 360. Retrieved from http://www.careerpath360.com/index.php/the-pros-and-cons-of-drug-testing-3-24292/

Verstraete, A. G. (2011). Workplace drug testing. London: Pharmaceutical Press.

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