How Ethical and Fair are Drug Testing Policies


I recently went on an interview for a retail store. As I filled out the application, one of the forms given to me outlined hiring procedures which included drug testing. It specified that a negative result was required for hiring. I paused for a second but then quickly moved on. Thinking I needed the money so I guess I’d have to oblige them. But afterwords I couldn’t get it out of my head. How is it possible that the most menial jobs require people to pass a drug test. I’ve always pretty much avoided jobs that required drug testing, not because I was afraid of failing but simply because I don’t think it’s right. For one I don’t think its useful, many horrible employees don’t do drugs at all and most people that do have found ways to get a negative result. Plus that fact that it just seems way too invasive. And while a positive result guarantees you will not be hired, having a criminal record supposedly will not be held against you. So instead of hiring a kid that occasionally smokes a little weed, it’s better to hire a convicted criminal. What about that makes sense.

There are some jobs that require drug testing and it makes sense. Jobs like airplane pilots, train operators, and other places where they are responsible for the safety of others. And yet hospital employees aren’t required to take drug tests. A situation that looked at closely can easily be dangerous for many reasons. Take for example this story, where a worker not only stole drugs but harmed patients. But to work a cash register and answer customer question I have to be subjected to a drug test. Yeah that makes sense.

While I actually thought I’d like to work for this company, I’m starting to second guess that. I know my refusal wont make a difference. Plenty of people are willing to put aside whatever feelings they have about the practice so they can get a job. But if I go along with it just like everybody else that’s the same as approving of it. If it was a different moral ideal they made me push aside in order to make a living would I still oblige. If part of my job was to lie or steal would it seem so small a issue.

All this pondering is probably for no reason, I still haven’t heard back from them. I guess I just needed to rant a little bit. I’d also like to hear other people’s thoughts. Do you agree that drug testing is too much to ask or do you think it’s a reasonable request? Does it really help employers make better hiring decisions or is it a waste of everybody’s time?

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