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administrator, looking down on them as “the one that has to handle their pee.” Having an outside source for drug testing, employers can foster an atmosphere that promotes professionalism.

Record keeping is another area employees may use to file a lawsuit.

Record Keeping Record keeping is another area

employees may use to file a lawsuit. Drug and alcohol testing results fall under ADA and HIPAA guidelines. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires that any medical records per- taining to employees be kept in separate, confidential medical files. Many of the drug testing companies offer a web-based drug testing program that will maintain all of the record keeping. This is certainly a value that employers should consider when selecting a company to provide for their drug testing needs. This web-based record keeping also helps to protect the employer from possible litigation. The chance of a misplaced chain of custody or drug test result is nonexistent. The time that it takes to maintain the employees file is also nonexistent. This adds value by way of time- savings for the manager that would have had to do the filing.

Time to Run for the Hills? Te thought of legal batles may send

employers running for the hills and throw- ing their drug testing programs over a cliff, but before that happens it is important to look at what the US Department of Labor has to say about what drug use in the work- place costs.

$246 Billion In fact, the National Institutes of Health

recently reported that alcohol and drug abuse cost the economy $246 billion in 1992, the most recent year for which economic data is available.6

In addition, nu-

merous studies, reports and surveys suggest that substance abuse is having a profoundly negative affect on the workplace in terms

40 datia focus

of decreased productivity and increased accidents, absenteeism, turnover, and medical costs. Following are notable statistics that

highlight the impact of substance abuse on the workplace: In 1990, problems resulting from the use

of alcohol and other drugs cost American businesses an estimated $81.6 billion in lost productivity due to premature death (37 billion) and illness (44 billion); 86 percent of these combined costs were at- tributed to drinking.7 Full-time workers age 18–49 who report-

ed current illicit drug use were more likely than those reporting no current illicit drug use to state that they had worked for three or more employers in the past year (32.1 percent versus 17.9 percent), taken an unexcused absence from work in the past month (12.1 percent versus 6.1 percent), voluntarily leſt an employer in the past year (25.8 percent versus 13.6 percent, and been fired by an employer in the past year (4.6 percent versus 1.4 percent). Similar results were reported for employees who were heavy alcohol users.8 According to results of a NIDA-sponsored

survey, drug-using employees are 2.2 times more likely to request early dismissal or time off, 2.5 times more likely to have absences of eight days or more, three times more likely to be late for work, 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a workplace accident, and five times more likely to file a workers’ compensation claim.9 Results from a U.S. Postal Service

study indicate that employees who tested positive on their pre-employment drug test were 77 percent more likely to be discharged within the first three years of employment, and were absent from work 66 percent more often than those who tested negative.10 A survey of callers to the national cocaine

helpline revealed that 75 percent reported using drugs on the job, 64 percent admit- ted that drugs adversely affected their job

summer 2013

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