The Logic of Drug Testing for Employment

Drug testing is often required by a company, it serves a few valuable roles, one of which is fulfilling legal requirements. Certain jobs and positions legally require drug testing; these are typically roles that require a high degree of legal ethics or personal control. Concerns about withdrawal or impaired ability make sense for airline pilots and surgeons. No one wants to have thoracic surgery performed by someone with the shakes. Having fears and concerns over drug users isn’t always rational, but it’s not always irrational, as such it’s not a pure red state/blue state thing as people in the relatively “blue” Austin in the relatively “red” state of Texas. The ethics of testing for something that doesn’t impact performance may seem questionable, for example an employee who is stoned is going to be approximately as bad at many jobs as one who is drunk, however there is a good reason for a business to select against people using marijuana.

Drug testing and the drug wars and prohibition are touchy political subjects; they intersect a lot of issues of privacy and public policy. However, from the point of view as an individual institution there are concerns about hiring people who use illegal drugs. Some might demagogue that people who break the law for a high will break it for anything, that argument is most likely overstated at best, however for a business there is another risk. Quite simply by drug testing the business is trying to prevent hiring employees at a higher risk of getting arrested for an avoidable crime. Losing an employee to legal problems, or having a controversy over employees getting arrested is a real problem for an employer.

For them drug testing makes sense. It might not be logical in terms of the impact of the drug on performance, but on risk of hiring it makes sense. As long as the drug use might result in the sudden unexpected loss of the employee, drug testing for it is an important thing to do. As such medical facilities in the aforementioned city of Austin have provided drug testing services for companies legally or not legally mandated to perform drug testing on prospective and current employees. There are multiple ways to perform drug testing; different ones have different advantages when it comes to cost, speed, and thoroughness of performance. Some tests are almost unbeatable, but they come with higher costs in terms of either financial compensation or their unpleasantness for the person undergoing the test. In some cases the specific test may be legally mandated, in others it’s a business decision based on how important illegal drug use is for their ethics and bottom line.

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