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NCJ Number: 113463 Find in a Library
Title: Mandatory Drug Testing: Managing the Latest Pandora's Box
Journal: Business Horizons  Volume:31  Issue:2  Dated:(March-April 1988)  Pages:14-22
Author(s): J P Muczyk; B P Heshizer
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 9
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the legal risks associated with drug testing, discusses the reliability of test results, and provides policy recommendations for drug screening.
Abstract: In drug testing, a number of problems arise with respect to the definition of a controlled substance, identifying if an employee is taking a controlled substance legally or illegally, and determining what types of information an employer has a right to know. A number of tests used in screening are broad-spectrum tests that suffer from reliability problems; poppyseed and many over-the-counter medications may produce false positives. Narrow spectrum tests, while reliable, are costly. Additional problems may arise with regard to the competence of the drug testing laboratory, the integrity of the chain of custody of evidence, the relation between job impairment and drug use, and issues related to when and where a drug was used. In addition, testing may place employers at risk of libel suits and may lower employee morale. While it is legal to screen for drugs, courts have held that it may not be legal to terminate a substance abusing employee under handicap laws. As a result of due process, privacy, and self-incrimination challenges, restrictions have been placed on testing of public-sector employees. Pre-employment screening is legal and should present few problems in the private sector. Where public safety is not at issue, drug screening should be based on unsatisfactory job performance and symptoms of substance abuse or when there is good reason to believe that impaired performance is a result of substance use. 16 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Employee drug testing
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties
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