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"Drug Testing and the Right to Privacy"
Drug Testing and the Right to Privacy
Adriana Alvarez
Privacy in America: Workplace Drug Testing

December 31, 1997

Today, in some industries, taking a drug test is as routine as filling out a job application. In fact, workplace drug testing is up 277 percent from 1987; despite the fact that random drug testing is unfair, often inaccurate and unproven as a means of stopping drug use.

But because there are few laws protecting our privacy in the workplace, millions of American workers are tested yearly, even though they aren't suspected of drug use.

As a soldier in the United States Army, I am subjected to random drug testing on a constant basis. I know first hand how degrading and uncomfortable it is to have a junior ranking employee observe you 100% while doing one of the most personal body functions we do. However, random drug testing does not discriminate against anyone in the U.S. Army.

Employers have the right to expect workers not to be high or drunk on the job. But they shouldn't have the right to require employees to prove their innocence by taking a drug test. I strongly support pre-employment and pre-enlistment drug testing as a means for qualifying an individual for a position. However, unless an employer as valid suspicions, i.e., injury, excessive absenteeism, or first hand knowledge, I do not believe in random drug testing. It is not right for individuals with unblemished work records to be taken away from their duties to be humiliated and forced to urinate in a cup with a "licensed" observer.

That's not how America should work.


Routine drug tests are intrusive. Often, another person is there to observe the employee to ensure there is no specimen tampering. Even indirect observation can be degrading; typically, workers must remove their outer garments and urinate in a bathroom in which the water supply has been turned...

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"Drug Testing and the Right to Privacy." Jul 19, 2018
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