Should Employee Drug Testing be in Your Business Strategy?

Drug taking by employees has been seen for some time as having a detrimental effect on the productivity of business, and this means that drug testing is now being viewed as a vital part of business strategy. 

Drug testing on employees

To determine whether a drug testing policy is good for your business, it is necessary to look at how employees using drugs can damage companies. Consistent drug taking by employees can result in after-effects, similar to hangovers and withdrawal symptoms, which can lead to a drop in productivity. It can lead to employees having many days off work. Employees may spend their time preoccupied with sourcing more drugs, so their concentration and attention is off, and they may begin to engage in criminal activities at work to finance their drug habits.

There are several different kinds of drug tests available to employers. These include the testing of urine, hair and other fluids. Perhaps the least invasive of these is an oral fluid lab test, which involves a sterile swab being placed between the person’s gum and cheek and waiting for an indicator to turn blue to confirm that the sample has been collected. These tests do not only check for illegal drugs, such as heroin, ecstasy and cocaine, but also for alcohol.

Of course, everyone has personal rights, and a company needs to have a defined drug testing policy in place – they cannot just say one day that all their employees must take a drug test or else! In fact, it is good practice for an employer to work with his or her employees to develop a drug testing policy that is acceptable to both, and which establishes a correct code of behaviour at work. As drug testing can be a contentious area, it is vital that all employees are treated the same with regards to the policy and that the drug testing policy is carried out in a consistent manner.

An employer should set out in every contract of employment how the company’s drug testing policy works. This document should state when and how a drug test can be carried out, and the possible consequences of an employee failing such a test. Without this being present in the contract of employment, an employer cannot insist on a member of staff submitting to a drug test. However, an employer is not legally obligated to give advance notice of a drug test, although he or she must obtain an employee’s consent to perform one. If the employer believes that they have reasonable grounds upon which to ask an employee to take a drug test, and that employee refuses without good reason, then they may face disciplinary action.

There are many good reasons why you as an employer should have drug testing as part of your strategy; allowing drug users to work for your company can result in a loss of productivity, the endangering of profits and perhaps the endangering of other members of staff.

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