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Drug Testing in the Workplace

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Introduction

Drug Testing in the Workplace Throughout her experiences as a low-wage earner in the book Nickel and Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich attempts to provide a social commentary on the many hardships faced as a result of being underemployed. Among these she includes problems she confronted in regards to the availability and costs of housing, food, and clothing, as well as the unavailability of jobs that pay enough to provide for all of her living expenses. She attempts to place herself in the position of someone who can hardly make ends meet in order to get a real feel for what it's like to be broke. One problem she runs into during the course of her observation, and the subsequent overcoming of this obstacle, does not fit into an accurate application of her experiment. Before being hired, Ehrenreich must submit to a drug test. She knows that she will test positive, and decides to purchase a detoxification product that will clean out her system. This alternative to failing the drug test would not be viable if Ehrenreich were actually living as if she was poor. Whatever the case may be, the drug testing that Ehrenreich submitted to has become exceedingly popular in the private sector, and has slowly started to infiltrate the public business realm as well. Drug testing is not a new development, but its intrusion in the workplace has become much greater since the years that testing was first implemented in the private workplace during the Reagan Administration. ...read more.

Middle

The Due Process clause in the Fourth Amendment protects against this type of discrimination (DeCrese, et al., 16). A pre-employment drug screening defies due process by not allowing the potential employee to challenge the test. The job seeker is not considered for employment without even knowing that it was the result of a positive drug test. In a case where an applicant failed a drug test based on something he was prescribed, the candidate would have no opportunity to explain himself because he would not be considered for the job solely based on his testing positive for drugs (DeCrese, et al., 17). Because of these constitutional discrepancies related to drug screening, the court systems have been packed with cases relating to the legality of testing. It is unclear whether opponents of drug testing will ever gain an advantage over those who support tests due to the vague application of the Constitution to cases involving the privacy of individuals submitting to tests. Corporate supporters of workplace drug testing often substantiate their support based on any liability that may happen if measures weren't taken to ensure the sobriety of their employees. The companies feel that since they can be held accountable for actions of an employee, even if that employee is under the influence of drugs, they should have the opportunity to prevent this from happening by way of drug tests (Gilliom, 36). ...read more.

Conclusion

But based on this research, it is easy to see that the idea of drug testing has become more and more mainstream, and whether or not a company actually decides to use it, it will remain an option. Barbara Ehrenreich sees drug testing as a minor obstacle in becoming employed, and argues that it shouldn't be used, but she does not make her claim on the ethics behind the test. Her disapproval comes from a questioning of the notion that drug use decreases total productivity among workers citing an ACLU report that supports this idea. Had she argued against drug screening on the basis of the illegality of the issue and fought to protect her unalienable rights given to her by the Constitution, she may have been able to persuade the reader into believing that drug tests shouldn't be used. Instead, her presumptuous attitude toward the tests makes it seem as though she only feels it is a nuisance that makes her spend $30 that she shouldn't have to. But then again, if she really were to put herself in a position close to the poverty line she would not have the luxury of spending that money in the first place. She would have to either quit doing drugs, or find a job that wouldn't make her prove she wasn't doing them. Politics Coursework ...read more.

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