Drug testing at the workplace has in the past been viewed as an ethical issue but as time passes by, more and more firms are embracing the idea. The main aim of drug testing at the workplace is to bring forth sanctity and safety precaution measures in a bid to enhance productivity. The fact that drug use by employees at workplace may lead to accidents in work sites is undisputed. Besides, drug use by employees could lead to absenteeism and petty theft. In the contrary however, drug testing can lead to sacking of productive employees who could be using recreational drugs. Though drug testing is a positive move that seeks to rehabilitate detected staffs, it has been perceived as breach of employment prospects. This essay therefore looks at the business ethical issues arising from drug testing at the workplace.
Drug testing as a business ethics has received criticism because it is a violation of human rights. Earlier on the business society faced protests when they tried to implement the policy of drug testing. However today, the trend is changing and more and more firms are embracing the ideals of drug testing. “…more people realize the importance of weeding out drug abusers from the workplace. Drug testing in the workplace in some form is approved in most states of the US, but the practice is not properly regulated in most cases,” (Butler). Drug testing among employees has been difficult to achieve due to high costs incurred. As a result, cheap and affordable drugs tests have been developed. Another area that has been incorporated into drug testing is the testing of job seekers before they are absorbed.
Due to success of drug testing at the workplace, many laws have been formulated. Law formulation directed at ensuring drug testing at workplace is smoothly implemented, is now the challenge that this business ethic faces. Developing harmonious legislations especially at the international level continues to cause further confusion. This is mainly because those who formulate the legislations are not the direct victims when implementation phase reaches. Consent of employees is totally disregarded in a matter that directly affects them.
The argument about whether or not drug testing at workplace is justified calls for a look at the business ethical theories in a bid to make a meaningful judgment. The significance of ethics at the workplace is a fundamental principal in business operation. A business set up should balance three parameters; relationship between firm and customers, firm and the public, and firm and the government. All these aspects should be balanced to bring about economic benefits and morally accepted human values. Striking a balance between these two aspects calls for adoption of relevant business ethical theories. For instance, consequentialist theory is developed from an assumption that the outcome of an adopted moral action be based on its success after implementation. In other words, the results are positive if the action is right and vice versa. How bad or good an action is can be worked out by finding the ratio of good to bad results.
Drug testing at the work place can be discussed in the view of consequentialists’ point of argument. Egoism theory as a form of consequentialist theory is not practical in the case of drug testing as it focuses on personal interests rather than business interests. If personal interests are allowed to dictate running of business, then vices such as adultery at the workplace could tarnish the name of business. On the other hand, Unitarianism theory is relevant to the case of drug use at the workplace as it takes into account the interests of the entire business organization. Since drug use at the workplace pose negative threats to the activities of a firm; bad results, a firm that seeks to stump out the vice should adopt the use of Unitarianism theory.