Essay about Drug Testing and Ethics

2029 Words Jan 18th, 2011 9 Pages
Camille Dickinson
Business Ethics
Module 5
November 27th 2010

Is drug testing an unwarranted invasion of employee privacy? Which is more important--getting drugs out of the workplace or protecting the privacy of the employee?
What about other health-threatening activities, i.e. smoking outside of working hours, unprotected sex, etc. Should employers be able to question or test employees or potential employees about these activities?
Both of these scenarios are tricky ones. On the one hand, any employer would want to get drugs out of the workplace. On the other hand you don’t want to invade an employee’s privacy. At the same time some jobs may require employees to conform to a certain standard of behavior both on and off the job,
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Employers should not be able to question or test employees about other behaviors that they might consider health threatening. This is a rather grey area and raises the questions of where to draw the line. For example if a company which is trying to reduce health insurance costs, decides to eliminate all smokers from their payroll since it costs more to insure smokers, shouldn’t they then eliminate overweight employees who are more likely to develop health problems than fit ones? What about employees with pre-existing conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure or kidney problems? Shouldn’t they be eliminated as well?

Should employers be allowed to use polygraph tests to "screen" out potentially costly employees who may engage in illegal drug use or any of these activities?
The polygraph test, or as it is more commonly known, the lie detector test measures several physiological with in the human body such as increased blood pressure, increased pulse and respiration. However in spite of what most people believe it is not the most reliable test. Shaw and Barry in their text Moral Issues in Business list three assumptions made by those who advocate for the use of these tests. These assumptions are * 1. Lying will automatically trigger a distinctive response to the question. * 2. Polygraphs are very accurate. * 3. Polygraphs cannot be beaten. (Shaw & Barry,

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