Should You Be Drug Testing Your Workforce? Comments Off on Should You Be Drug Testing Your Workforce?
With the recent legalization of marijuana in several states, employers are probably getting slightly worried about whether their employees will start to use it. One thing to keep in mind is that even though marijuana has been legalized in several states now, it has not been made legal by the federal government and so employers can still enforce penalties.
It's not just about marijuana though, but about drugs in general. Is it right that an employer has the ability to drug test his or her workforce? Is this what you should be doing?
Is Drug Use on the Rise?
It's hard to say if drug use is on the rise; we can never be sure how many people actually use illegal substances. It is however a fact that the number of failed drug tests is on the rise, which is likely to be an indicator of increased drug use.
Data has been pulled from numerous drug tests around the country and the numbers definitely say that drug use is rising in several of the states. Experts also report that this is one of the first times in over a decade that the number of failed drug tests has increased.
How Will This Affect Your Business?
Depending on what industry you work in and how your business is structured, there might be an argument as to whether drug use amongst your workforce would actually have an adverse effect on your business or not. At first thought, it would obviously seem detrimental but the argument could also be made that what a person does outside of work hours shouldn't be much of a concern for the employer.
In many cases, this couldn't be further from the truth. As an employer, it's imperative that you maintain a healthy workforce and put the processes into place to ensure that your workforce is as efficient and productive as possible. If you are not seeing any side effects from increased employee drug use as a result of legalization just yet, you probably might in a few months.
Even though attitudes to the use of marijuana is becoming more lenient, you can still enforce penalties as mentioned above. Don't be afraid to do this and don't be afraid to enforce a few drug tests; you could implement random drug testing or you could do it every quarter or every six months, the choice is yours.
Taking Action against Drugs
There is no question that drug use (and especially drug abuse) can have very dangerous consequences in the work environment. If your employees are failing drug tests then you might not see the effects just yet, but failed drugs tests are clearly a matter of concern if they are operating machinery, driving vehicles or in fact undertaking any kind of important responsibility within your business.
Although people may argue that the joints they smoked last night are none of your business – and they probably aren't – any residual effect that drug use has on performance at work next day is most certainly your concern, especially where public and employee safety are concerned.
This is why it's so important to properly test your workforce for drug use. Even though the argument can be made that a person's personal life and work life should be separated; as an employer, you want to ensure that your employees are able to work to their best of their ability.
Whatever you decide to do regarding drug testing, make sure that you are on firm legal ground before you go ahead with a program.. Get advice from a legal expert, and also, explain to employees the reason for your concerns, so that the feeling of invasion of privacy can be minimized.