Drug testing and polygraph testing are popular tools control used by the criminal justice system and in the workplace. Despite the benefits and opportunities proposed by these control methods, they violate human rights and privacy issues. According to statistical data, there are three-fifths of the organizations that are currently testing for drug use during the employment procedures, or among groups in their active staff population–perceive substance abuse to be an issue in which both alcohol and illegal drugs are included. In criminal justice, drug testing and polygraph testing are used to determine the social status of the offender and possible deviations in behavior.
The restrictions should be placed on both workplace and criminal justice practices that violate the human rights and freedoms of individuals. Drug testing can be used during the employment process but it should be prohibited during working hours if no signs or symptoms are apparent or reported to the management. The main causes against drug testing are invasion of privacy and inadequate results f tests. Wrongful discharge, violation of work rules, and failure of the organization to bargain as the basis for their complaints affect life of an employee and his career. Once accused of drug abuse, it would be difficult for a person to clean up his reputation. The organizations, public and private, report relatively few cases leading to complaints of intentional infliction of psychological distress, defamation, or handicap discrimination (Jenkins and Goldberger, p. 87).
The criminal justice could not use lie detector tests to battle drug use among its police officers and firefighters, but it could use urine testing as the core for disciplinary action. The relationship between test results and work productivity presents a more difficult legal issue than does the accuracy of the test itself. Today, urine testing is used to determine the presence of drugs or the metabolites of drugs in the body. Thus, test results will be positive when a substance or its metabolite is found in the sample, even though the individual tested may not presently be intoxicated or can use a medicine (for caught treatment or high temperature) (Newton, p. 98).
The other restriction is that drug testing and polygraph testing must be reasonably related to jobs. It is known that many employees introduce these tests without a need to improve the image of the company and place additional pressure on employees. When the organization, public or private, wants to penalize employees, it normally must notify them in advance and provide them with an opportunity to defend themselves. Many organization violates this rule trying to maintain control over lives of employees and fear them with such tests. Also, many drug tests and polygraph tests are inaccurate, that the results are inadequately related to work performance, or that the person is punished as a result of a drug test without being allowed to check the test results. Also, while private organizations are not bound by the lawful guarantee of due process, in the interest of basic fairness prudent employers allow people an opportunity to discuss alleged drug use (Biscranium, p. 23).
It is legally recognized that informing people, of the drug tests immediately before it is conducted would destroy its effectiveness and lead to mistrust and negative attitudes towards the company. Thus, the employer should accommodate both his own and his staff’s needs by notifying people that the company would conduct such searches in the future. In the criminal justice system, drug testing and polygraph testing are applied to all offenders without their approval or evidence of their guilt. Criminal justice agencies have considered the issue of drug tests and polygraph tests as those that lack accuracy and cannot be significant enough to serve as the basis for a successful proof. Despite the limited number of criminal justice agencies involved, conflicts between drug testing and offenders’ rights have become high visibility issues. Both employers and police officers admit inaccuracy of the test results, and the inadequate procedures used to assure sample integrity and validity of the two tests (Newton, p. 23).
The data and facts mentioned above suggest that measures of the drug level cannot be applied to all cases and problems faced by workplace and criminal justice. Drug and polygraph testing are not perfectly accurate, so many organizations find that the possibility of a false positive (registering the presence of alcohol or drugs when none is there) is possible and the preserved sample would have virtually no value to the defendant. Drug testing and polygraph testing are too unreliable to use even to support employment decisions. In order to protect population from abuse of rights, the government should restrict drug tests and polygraph test applications without a substantial or approved reason. Also, the state should introduce rules of urine testing that have confirmed the accuracy and reliability of the tests. Despite some benefits and opportunities proposed by drug tests and polygraph tests they violate the human rights of people and can ruin life and career of non-drug employees accused of drug abuse or a lie.
- Jenkins, A. J., Goldberger, B.A. On-Site Drug Testing (Forensic Science and Medicine). Humana Press; 1st edition, 2001.
- Newton, D.E. Drug Testing: An Issue for School, Sports, and Work (Issues in Focus). Enslow Publishers, 1999.
- Biscranium, K. A. Passing Drug Tests: The Gospel of Getting Clean for UA’s. Trafford Publishing, 2005.