Discussion 6

Ch.7: Do employers have a moral right to use surprise urine tests on (all, some of) their employees to check for drug use? Defend your answer.

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27 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Michael Green on 2011/07/16 at 5:36 PM

    Morally speaking I have to say thats its not right to spring surprise urine tests on their employees. It really isnt any of the companies business what the employee does on his/her time off. I do see however why they do it. They dont want claims against them for someone impaired getting injured on the job. The problem with that though is how long some drugs stay in a person system. You can fail a marijuana drug test many weeks after consuming it. You may not have bben actually impaired anywhere close to the time of the drug test but you still fail. I also dont think that they should only test just some employess and not others.

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  2. Posted by Carol Kines on 2011/07/18 at 12:54 AM

    I do not feel that employers have a right to use surprise urine tests on employees to check for drug use unless the employees tested are working in an areas of the business where it is imperative that the employee not use drugs. For example, people who counsel others on drug abuse should not ever take drugs, and the testing would be valid and permissible, in my opinion. This is because it would not be wise to have a drug user counseling others on how to stop using drugs, and could cause legal issues if improper information is provided to the people being counseled about drug use.
    In industry, employees who are in a position where safety could be compromised if they use drugs should be tested on a surprise basis. Thus, in situations where drug use could impact safety of employees or clients, I feel that the surprise testing is fair. Due to the inaccuracy of the drug tests, it would also be reasonable to allow the people being tested to have the chance to explain “false positives” and to take the test again. In most industry jobs, I feel that job performance should be the deciding factor on personnel retention, pay increases, etc. If a person is able to use drugs on his or her own time and perform the job, I do not feel that the business has any reason to ask for a urine sample.
    In areas such as policemen and firefighters, I feel that urine testing is fair and reasonable because it is very important that these people not be impaired in their jobs. This is a matter of public safety, and urine tests are a way to assure that employees think twice before taking drugs.

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  3. Posted by Natalie Haynam on 2011/07/29 at 3:48 AM

    I believe if an employee was unaware that the company was going to provide surprise urine testing, and was not asked to sign an agreement to random urine testing prior to starting the job, then surprise urine testing is morally wrong. Many companies today discharge employees for failing a urine test, but every 1 to 5 out of 100 drug tests provide a “false positive.” There is no way for an employer or company to be 100 percent certain that the employee has illegal drugs in their system. Substances such as: Tylenol, various over the counter medicines, and also sesame seeds have been known to show “false positives” on urine tests. In this situation, the employee who tested positive would be wrongfully-discharged from their job in most cases, which is morally wrong. Certain substances like marijuana and cocaine can last in your system anywhere from five days to three weeks. This does not indicate that the employee engaged in these drugs during their time at work, nor did it affect their performance. What the employee does in their free time is not a reflection of their job performance, so ordering a surprise urine test is not morally right because this type of test does not prove that the employee was impaired on the job. Also, urine tests contain flaws within them. They do not show levels of employee performance, the degree of impairment which would be vital information to know if the employee took drugs during their time at work, or was under the influence while performing their job. If the employee consented to randomized urine tests prior to starting the job, providing these tests would not be morally wrong, but when employees are left unaware and uninformed that surprise urine tests will be administered, it is morally wrong to do because it starts to violate the employees right to privacy because they were never once informed that they had to consent to surprise urine tests.

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  4. I do not agree that employer’s have the right to give random drug tests. I believe this is violating their rights. There are many individals that have health problems and take presribed medication from their doctor. Alot of these medications are tested on drug screens and innocent people that are doing nothing more than taking what the doctor prescribes them to feel better end up losing their jobs. This is not right. Tjohnson

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  5. i think employers have a moral right to take random drug test only if they put in the contract you sign to work for the company that there will be a random drug test but they dont no when other then that no because employees have right and as a employee at a company your rights should be servied so if there is documents to sign if you agree with the random urine test then sign the paper if not or you dont say the paper the it should no be a something called random drug test its just not right at all

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  6. Posted by Walter Bell on 2011/07/31 at 7:06 PM

    I do not believe surprise urine testing is morally wrong. If you are the employee, you should not be offended if asked to take one. The company is paying you to perform at the best of your ability, therefore to ensure they are paying you for your best performance, drug tests should be implemented. Not only are drugs illegal, they also inhibit you from performing even simple tasks as best as you would sober. Not only should you not be using drugs because it’s against the law, you should also want to perform your best since that certain company is providing a job for you. There should be nothing to hide from your employer if you aren’t abusing drugs. This also ensures that you are not working with people who are using drugs. In jobs where safety is a major issue such as in construction, you don’t what the person next to you not being able to make the right choices and cause him or her harm along with the rest of the employees. Although it is in a way, invading privacy, overall they are trying to make sure you aren’t a hazard to the rest of the company. Finally, afterall if you don’t abuse drugs, the worry about a drug test won’t be there. You will only gain confidence by your employers after multiple urine tests throughout your career.

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  7. I believe that employers DO have the right to perform “random” urine testing on their employees, providing that employees are made aware of this policy before accepting a position within an organization. I work at an institution that has this very policy and was required to sign a copy of it when filling out my other “new-hire” paperwork. As Walter Bell stated in the previous post, “Not only are drugs illegal, they also inhibit you from performing even simple tasks as best as you would sober. Not only should you not be using drugs because it’s against the law, you should also want to perform your best since that certain company is providing a job for you.” Having a steady form of gainful employment that provides for your financial well-being as well as providing benefits such as health insurance, is not a “right” of an individual, BUT a privilege that carries with it certain responsibilities- among those respecting your employer enough to abide by his terms of employment.

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  8. Posted by NChaney on 2011/08/02 at 10:58 PM

    The employers have the right to give suprise urine test. Having a job that is considered to be your career is a privledge. Because it is a privledge the employer may do as he/she wishes to be sure their employees are what they want to invest their money in. Those who are against suprise urine testing are more than likely hiding something. If you are a good citizen of society and don’t use drugs, then there is nothing to worry about. The employer pays for you to live a comfortable life, the least you can do is abide by their policies. To me, someone who abuses drugs is more than likely not going to perform to their full potential. On the subject of those who want sympathy when they get caught for smoking marijuana, even if it were weeks in the past. Here’s the sympathy, you knew the consequences before you hit the joint.

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  9. Posted by Kayla Torres on 2011/08/03 at 3:45 PM

    If the employer states clearly in its policies for employment that they hold firm to maintaining a drug free environment from the start, and the employee agrees to this, I believe surprise urine tests are that employers moral right. The employee has agreed to the terms of employment and does not have a right to violate these terms, therefore the employer has a right to test this commitment. However, it may be argued that the employer should show trust for their employees and surprise urine tests would only be justifiable in the case of suspicious activity or accidents that may have been caused by drug use.

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  10. Posted by Hilary Carr on 2011/08/04 at 7:01 PM

    I believe that employers DO have the right to use surprise urine tests on ALL of their employees. I think that employers have the right to do so because they are the ones giving money to their employees, and they have the right to test if their employees are using drugs or not. If an employer chooses to not have employees who use drugs in their organization, they should be allowed to test their employees to find out the truth.
    Even though drug screenings can be inaccurate, I believe that the results of drug tests are widely accepted enough that they should be allowed.

    HCarr

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  11. Posted by mnortey on 2011/08/04 at 7:27 PM

    i believe that employers do have to right to surprise drug test it is under their jurisdiction has to who and when they want to perform drug tests. i do not feel as if employers should pick and choose who they want to drug test individually because and employee that may have come in contact with lets say marijauna would have the misfortune of “contact” with the substance would unfortunately fail their drug test resulting in termination, when in turn a colleague could in fact be using illegal substances and get away clean. a full drug test must be done of the business or industry all at once to avoid conflict.

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  12. Posted by Kimberly Bertmeyer on 2011/08/05 at 5:01 AM

    I think it is perfectly fine for employers to give random urine tests. First of all, if the tests were not random people would be able to prepare for them and in some cases there wouldn’t be much point in giving the test. Granted some drugs stay in the system longer than others. If I were an employer, I would not want to run the risk of having people on the job under the influence of drugs. I would not want the chance of someone being under the influence at my business because it could potentially harm that person and other employees or customers. Drugs have a lot of negative effects on someone’s ability to perform duties and I would only want employees with clear heads that are not being affected by drugs. Doing drugs also says alot about a persons values and morals. As an employer, I would not want these kind of people working for me. Many jobs and businesses deal with working with other people and providing customer service. If people are under the influence of drugs, this customer service is more than likely going to suffer. This is especially important when the services pertain to the safety of others. I worked as an STNA in a nursing home. We were required to do drug tests when we were hired. If we failed we did not get the job. However, if they suspected drug use they could give us a random test if they wanted to. If the person failed the urine test after being hired they were allowed to keep their job but would be required to go through some sort of drug and would be allowed to take another urine test. I think that is wrong. Why would you want to keep a drug user in a facility taking care of elderly where lives are at stake? I think that businesses should do a lot more random drug tests. I was aware of people who were doing drugs during their lunch breaks and openly talking about it. These people are the reason that drug tests exist. For that reason I think it is okay for employers to do random drug tests.
    One more thing…Since drug use is illegal, it is okay to test for them. It is not really an invasion of privacy when you are already breaking the law. If you have nothing to hide, than drug tests really aren’t a big deal.

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  13. Posted by Ashley Whitford on 2011/08/05 at 9:05 PM

    I believe that employers do have the moral right to use surprise urine tests on all of their employees. I feel that although some may argue it is an invasion of privacy, the employer has a right to test their employees for a couple simple reasons. The first being that the employer is paying his employees to do a specific job, and if they are using drugs, this could inhibit them from doing their job properly, so essentially the employer is paying the employee to do his job only half as good as he would without the drugs. This may cause the employer even more money because he might have to hire another employee to do the rest of the job that the employee using drugs could not do. The second reason is that most employers drug test for the safety of the other employees. If you are a construction worker, say, operating a crane, and you’re on drugs, you could seriously injure one of your other co-workers because of a simple mistake you make. It is also not fair to the other employees to have to constantly watch out for the person who is using drugs. The employees ultimately become babysitters for their co-worker who is using drugs, and that is not what they were employed to do. Although some may find that random urine testing is unacceptable, I believe that it is acceptable, only when the employee has consented and/or signed a contract saying that they will be open to random drug testing. This tactic in the workplace has a specific purpose, it is not to hinder or drive people away from the job, but it is to ultimately protect the employees.

    AWhitford

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  14. Posted by Dominic DeRose on 2011/08/06 at 1:50 AM

    Only if the employer suspects the employee is on drugs during working hours, not what they do in their own free time. Thanks to Parent’s interpretation of rights and privacy, I can finally defend this belief. The employer is attempting to determine if their employees are under the influence of drugs. I find this a violation of privacy with the exception of drug use on the job. If the employer had a test that could determine use while at work, that determined subjects “currently under the influence”, that would be moral since other’s safety may be dependent on the employee in question. In addition, in the event of a test pass, the employer would have to purge the results of the test from whatever record keeping system being used to protect the privacy of the employee. More directly, I agree with limitations because the right of the employee is being violated for the sake of utility (knowing if they are on drugs in their personal free time vs employer’s time). Which according to Parent is justifiable as long as they suspect the rights of other employee’s safety is in danger (a right to privacy vs a right to well being), and they destroy the results afterwards as not to gain sensitive information that could be used to manipulate the employee.

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  15. Posted by Misty Bess on 2011/08/06 at 1:54 AM

    I feel employers have the moral right to give surprise urine tests on employees only if it is made clear on initial agreement of hire that these tests could be performed at random times. While I do believe that urine tests can be beneficial in many ways, as stated by Parent and Pickard, it is still an invasion of privacy to gain this personal knowledge of peoples personal activities without their prior consent. I feel in most work places, as do the employers, what one does in their private time can be a reflection of how one will function within the job force. However, an initial consent gives employees the chance to utilize their rights as well, regardless of lifestyle choices. The employee than can make the decision to find work elsewhere, where drug testing is not a standard practice or make the decision not to partake in using illegal substances and accept the position being offered.

    MBess

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  16. Posted by Mike Senchak on 2011/08/08 at 2:59 PM

    Assuming that the employer had the employee sign the waiver form than they absolutely have the right to surprise test anyone. If I am an employer I would not want the safety of other employers or my money for that matter in the responsibility of a drug user. Many times, employees do not understand this concept untill they are on the other side of the argument and become a manager or business owner. Drug related costs add up to businesses. The money lost from lack of production, injuries, etc. is excessive. These factors influence what the company pays for workers comp, money lost due to call offs from hangovers or drug users or lack of productivity from lack of motivation. If an employee does not agree with it, they should quit their job, start their own business and not restrict hiring due to drug use.

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  17. Posted by Michelle Green on 2011/08/09 at 2:31 AM

    Yes they do have the right to surprise their workers with surprise drug tests as long as they disclose that they will do it at the beginning of the workers employment. A company feels a drug free environment benefits them by having a more “focused” team of employees and also for insurance purposes.

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  18. Posted by Leah Richards on 2011/08/09 at 7:55 PM

    Yes, they do have the right to surprise the employees. If a workplace wants a drug free environment then they should be able to drug tests whenever they please. I personally think it is a great idea. But one thing that should be done when hiring a new employee is that they be told that urine test will be done time after time for drug testings.

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  19. Posted by Marc Kosec on 2011/08/09 at 11:52 PM

    Yes they do. The employer never HAS to hire the employee. By accepting a job from a business, you also accept the terms and conditions the business has to ensure proper employee action to remain clear headed. This is not necessarily a moral issue as much as it is a issue with the employee reading the handbook of the company before accepting the job. Now if the company changed the rules after you had already accepted the job, then this would be a moral issue. As the employee you did not agree to the random urine tests however they now expect you to abide by these new rules. Most would not have issue with this however some would find this as an invasion of privacy. In this case i would have to say that it is not morally acceptable for the company to require urine tests from employees that did not specifically agree to it.

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  20. Posted by Nicole Zarzycki on 2011/08/10 at 3:20 AM

    I believe that employers have moral right to conduct drug tests is and only if the employee has acted in such a way as putting himself, or others in danger. This I feel would be the only time employers have a moral right to conduct drug tests. The employers need to provide its employees with a safe working environment and if someone or something is a danger to it they have a right to know. According to Erwin Chemerensky, professor of constituional law at the University of Southern California, “What someone does outside the job isn’t concern for the employer unless it affects what they do on the job” (pg. 213).

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  21. I will agree with many replies to this answer and agree that it is morally right to conduct random drugs tests on employees if the employee is aware that these can be administered at any time. Drugs can cause a variety of problems with the quality of work, with fellow employees, the safety of the work environment, and not to mention that they are illegal. For a company to rely on its employees to produce exceptional work, be responsible for their work and to deliver a positive company image, I feel the company should random drug test. There are many liabilities the company could ensue if a worker is under the use of drugs at work. It is a hazard to everyone in the working environment. The company ought to be able to do this to ensure the safety of everyone and to ensure the company remains in a positive light.

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  22. Posted by Michael Sammartino on 2011/08/10 at 8:23 PM

    It is absolutely right for employers to drug screen their employees. Drugs are illegal just like any other crime and I believe employers have the right to know if their employees are performing illegal activities. There will always be people who believe that this is wrong but where did you get the money to buy drugs? Your employee.

    -msammartino

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  23. Posted by Molly Jones on 2011/08/11 at 6:37 PM

    I believe that all businesses have a right to drug test all of their employees. Society looks at people who do drugs as bad and horrible people since drugs are illegal. If those people are working in businesses society is going to look at that business they way the look at those people. I think businesses have the right to make sure that their business isn’t looked at like that. I don’t believe that a business has the right to only drug test some of their employees though because anyone in their business could be doing drugs and I don’t think anyone should get special treatment or be excluded.

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  24. Posted by Philip Ciprian on 2011/08/11 at 7:00 PM

    A surprise drug test is indeed morally acceptable, provided that it is explained as a possibility at the beginning of employment. It is in the employer’s best interest to maintain a good workforce and he/she should be able to make sure that his/her employees are in proper condition for the job.

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  25. I don’t believe that employers have the right to use surprise urine tests unless it has been explicitly agreed in the employee’s contract. I do however believe that if the employees have been observed under erratic conditions, and are at risks of endangering others then companies then have a moral right to test. If this is the condition it should have been included in their contract. I believe that surprise drug testing violates the right of privacy of the person under the terms that it is a unreasonable search and seizure. I also believe that drug tests do not effectively determine if an individual had committed a consequence during work time. Drug tests are not fully accurate, and can give a false positive. It also comes into chance that you can be around a drug such as Marijuana without having it intentionally enter your system. Marijuana has even been prescribed in different places throughout the world, and the United States yet in certain states you could still be breaking the law. I don’t believe surprise drug tests are the least offensive way of obtaining the knowledge in this consideration. I also question what the employer is trying to justify by doing this test. If the employer puts that there will be mandatory drug test as a condition of the job in the contract, and sufficiently notifies the employee they could justify the use. I also believe employees should be observed better and if they aren’t properly performing this can be grounds to be fired. There should be some kind of individualized suspicion, and only when these employees present a danger to others. Once again I believe that employers do not have a moral right to surprise drug test there employees unless under certain conditions such as putting lives in danger.

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  26. Posted by JScacchetti on 2011/08/11 at 11:54 PM

    In the case of surprise drug tests, I believe that they are completely unfair unless stated in the contract that he or she signed upon being hired at that company. So in the case that it’s not in the contract, I believe that it should not be allowed because it invades the trust that you have in your company.

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