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Legal and Ethical Issues of Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace Drug Screening

Can you help me with approximately 600-800 words describing the legal and ethical issues of workplace drug testing. Specifically looking for information on:

1) Types of drug tests (urinalysis, sweat tests, hair, blood, etc.)

2) Reliability of drug testing methods (most to least reliable)

3) Types of drug testing programs (mandatory, voluntary, and etc.)

4) Appropriateness of certain types of testing programs for specific occupational environments

5) Who to test and why

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look at the individual questions, which you can consider for your final paper.


1) Types of drug tests (urinalysis, sweat tests, hair, blood, etc.)

A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen - urine, hair, blood, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva - to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites. "Drug tests in the United States can be divided into two general groups, federal mandated and general workplace. Federal mandated drug testing started when President Ronald Reagan enacted via executive order, that federal workers refrain from using illegal substances." (
Ethical concerns are privacy and fairness of mandatory testing, especially if there is no evidence to suspect drug use. Legal issues have to do with whether drug testing violates people's constitutional rights.

a. Urinalysis is still considered an invasive form of testing, although not as much as a blood test, but more so than saliva test. What then, are the benefits? Urine drug testing will typically give results for the past week, although if the subject has been using drugs regularly, it will go back even further. However, if the subject abstains from using drugs for a week or two, or uses a home drug test beating kit, the results can show a false negative. When tested commercially, urine samples are oftentimes tested for temperature, to be certain that the urine is at body temperature, and has not come from another person in an attempt to beat the test. (

b. Sweat tests include a patch that is put on for an extended period of time (10-14 days). They are non-invasive and donor friendly. They are pretty much tamper proof, no lab is required, and results can be obtained in minutes. However, they are open to contamination, and although they cost little, they can only be used for a limited number of drugs.

c. Saliva / oral fluid-based drug tests can generally detect use during the previous few days. Saliva or oral fluid based drug tests are becoming more prevalent because of their convenience and the fact that they are very difficult to adulterate. Furthermore, on-site oral based tests in particular enable the implementation of random testing programs, proven to be the most effective type of drug screening. Testing is usually performed by employers, for either ...

Solution Summary

This solution analyzes legal and ethical issues of workplace drug testing. References are also provided to further validate the findings.