A lot of employers have a clause in their contracts stating that they can drug test their employees without notice. It is particularly common to see this enforced in workplaces where people need to drive or operate other heavy machinery. However, all business, including regular offices, are able to use these tools. Generally speaking, urine tests are used to detect drugs. Through this test, a stick is dipped in urine, which changes color depending on the drugs that are present. Strangely enough, although there are many employers who use this process, only very few actually look at the pros and cons of doing this. As such, it may be interesting to review what the advantages and disadvantages actually are.
Naturally, the main goal and advantage of these tests is to ensure employees do not attend work under the influence. Employers also hope that it perhaps stops people from doing drugs altogether. Due to the fact that the tests are taking randomly, employees will generally feel less inclined to take any drugs, as they may get caught. Additionally, because the tests are easy to do, they don’t cause any real downtime in work. Hence, the financial implications of doing the tests are negligible as well. The biggest advantage, however, is that it should make the workplace a safer place to be overall.
On the other hand, the tests come with many disadvantages too. Firstly, there is the test itself. Because the body breaks up chemicals, urine tests can only detect them for about 24 hours. Almost all recreational users are aware of this, which is why they usually take substances on Friday so that they cannot be detected come Monday. There are tests that can be done instead, but only the DNA test is really any better, and these are incredibly expensive. It must also be said that employee engagement is reduced significantly if employers ask for drug tests to be taken. It often makes workers feel as if they are not trustworthy and as if they are always a suspect. When considering the vast majority of employees will indeed be clean of substances, this is an understandable reaction. In these cases, employees will feel like trust is not mutual, which means they stop trusting as well. Does this mean there is no point to doing drug tests? It is in fact a personal decision to weigh up the pros and cons. This is why employers should always run a consultation with employees in terms of whether or not to introduce drug tests. This will at least make sure that employees do not feel judged and that they remain engaged.