In the last 10 years no matter what type of company you work for will most likely ask you to take a drug test before you begin employment and then some will do random drug testing throughout your employment. It has become so common place that hiring agencies now do them right in their offices as they are placing people into assignments. There are some points good and bad as to whether these policies are always a good idea or not.
The #1 item on the pros list that most companies and employees will agree on is safety. Most people in general will not disagree with the fact that someone under the influence of mind altering drugs or alcohol are not safe to make policy decisions, operate any equipment, be responsible for a team of employees under them operating equipment or even just working in the workplace; the whole company suffers if there are accidents.
Even if you do not have a company that operates any machinery or equipment; the employees as a whole would much rather be safe than sorry. No one wants to be working for a supervisor or with another employee that is altered and can’t manage to do their jobs; and no one wants to tolerate the side effects of drug abuse from coworkers and supervisors either.
Being proactive before you have a situation on your hands; because these issues can get out of hand quickly. The company can have a better reputation in their community and in general if it keeps up a random testing policy; because they can get rid of employees if they continue to have problems in these areas.
Even though drug/alcohol testing is more common now than it ever has been; it is still an invasive procedure for employees to undertake and it still “feels” as though the company has a “big brother” testing policy. Even if it is for safety reasons, people do like the idea of personal freedom first ask questions later.
Legal Issues; you will always have that one instance where an employee can sue you even though their drug test came back positive for one of the drugs or for alcohol you were testing. They may be in the wrong or they may be in the right, they may lose the law suit, they may have done this at other companies in which they have previously worked. But the end result is the same; time is money and a lawsuit is time and attorney fees, even if you win.
Pros and Cons aside: and whether you choose to keep up random testing or if you only test at the time someone is hired one thing is for certain; this Genie has been let out of the bottle and we will be seeing these decisions and legal issues come up more and more as this procedure is now common place for most every area of employment.