The legality of the policy has been challenged by employees on grounds of personal privacy.Such a suit is pending in San Francisco Superior Court against the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, which, to promote safety on its rails, tested almost 500 employees without notice.
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For Screening The basic argument is that drugs are being abused by millions of workers and that such abuse cuts into productivity and increases absenteeism and job-related accidents.
The abuse of illegal drugs, from the shop floor to the executive suite, has been blamed by employers for countless railway collisions and derailments, bus, truck and heavy equipment accidents.
Between five million and six million people are regular cocaine users. Try as it might, the United States has simply been unable to stop or significantly hinder the traffic in drugs.'' Law enforcement has been tested to its utmost,'' said Judge Irving R.
Kaufman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, who was chairman of the crime commission.
Driven by growing illegal drug use among millions of Americans and the inability of law-enforcement officials to curb it, many employers over the last decade have quietly instituted a policy that they hope will keep drugs out of the workplace: the mass screening of workers to detect the presence of drugs in their bodies.
The public had been largely unaware of such practices.
Drug abusers usually do not see themselves as such, and are not apt to halt destructive behavior or volunteer to undergo treatment.
As for contentions that the tests are unreliable, proponents of drug testing acknowledge that laboratories have handled some urine samples improperly.