Why Some Companies Do the Pre-Employment Drug Test

While there are a lot of people who argue that recreational drug use doesn’t have to interfere with one’s workplace performance, the truth is that an employee with drug addiction is a liability that your enterprise simply doesn’t need. There are so many problems with the idea of hiring someone with this habit that may come to plague your enterprise or even run it completely into the ground. Before we get into this any deeper, we should first discuss the legality and the method behind pre-employment drug testing, then, we’ll delve deeper into why this is such an important thing. 

Is this legal?

Before we get started, it’s crucial that we get one thing out of the way. Testing your employees is, in most scenarios, not illegal, however, there’s a certain grey area when it comes to pre-employment drug testing. Namely, you’re not legally allowed to test people before you actually offer them a job. This means that you can’t just test all your applicants. Once you offer a person employment at your company, you might find yourself in a position where you can ask them to take a drug test. If they pass it, then you’re obliged to hire them. If they fail, the employment offer can be withdrawn. Nonetheless, this differs from state to state and from country to country, which is why you need to contact your legal adviser before doing any of this.

You need an element of surprise

Another thing you need to understand is the fact that there’s nothing easier than for your potential employee to get someone else’s DNA or urine sample. This completely defeats the purpose of testing them, to begin with. In other words, what you need on your side is the element of surprise. Nowadays, it’s relatively easy for any enterprise to order pre-employment drug testing equipment and have them ready to apply at any given moment. At the moment, the two simplest and the most commonly used ways to test for drugs are either urine or saliva analysis.

Increase the chance of their reliability

Of course, just because someone is not a drug user, this doesn’t automatically mean that they are reliable. But when there are drugs involved, there’s an additional risk factor. You see, a drug user is someone who, due to the nature of their addiction, simply can’t think or function straight. Their judgement is clouded, it means that they are a liability. If they operate dangerous equipment, they are a danger to both themselves and others around them. If they work with something more delicate (like numbers) or are involved in a work that requires a certain level of creativity, chances that they will make a mistake are a lot higher.

Other than this, due to the very nature of this nasty habit, there’s an increased chance that a drug user won’t turn up in time or at all. There’s a chance that they’ll randomly call in sick or even fail to notify you of their absence, to begin with. Keep in mind that this keeps you short-handed, especially if you’re running a small business. Now, due to the fact that about 97 per cent of all Australian enterprises employ between 3 and 19 employees, being one person short is a significant percentage of your total workforce. Seeing as how this always results in letting your clients down, this can, indeed, become a significant issue.

Diminish the likelihood of employee theft

Sure, even completely clean employee can steal from you, however, when it comes to a drug user, you need to keep in mind the fact that this is someone completely unreliable (which we’ve already discussed), which makes the likelihood substantially higher. After all, this is someone who needs to steal in order to make their drug habit financially sustainable, especially if they have a family or a partner. Think about it, a gap in their salary would be easy to spot, however, the money that they make on the side (by stealing from their employer), can be used freely and without any restraint.

They’re bad for your image

Employees with a history of drug use are simply bad for your image. First of all, your employees are all brand representatives. Drug abuse is not something that one can hide so easily and any word of mouth recommendation towards your business might have a negative impact. When it comes to being a brand ambassador, not everyone’s word carries the same weight. Sometimes, an endorsement from a wrong person can cost you dearly. Also, these people are prone to lying and imagining things, which is also something that could easily backfire for your business.

They’re outright bad employees

Drug users are emotionally unstable, which often makes them confrontational and even aggressive (especially when in the withdrawal stage). This makes them a risk for your other employees, yourself and even the customer. They also have a hard time focusing on the task at hand, which means that they’ll consistently under-perform. Combined with the above-listed problems with reliability and trust, it’s clear to see that hiring such a person would be a disaster. This is why it’s so important that you test them in time.

In conclusion

Lastly, just because they’ve passed the pre-employment drug test, this doesn’t mean that your efforts to check if your staff is clean are over. Random drug testing in the workplace is a common practice and, given all the above-listed circumstances, it’s a more than welcome one. Now that you’re familiar with all the dangers, it’s more than clear that ignoring them would be more than reckless.

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