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Workplace drug testing, particularly urinalysis, has proliferated in the last few years. Despite widespread support for biological testing, research suggests that not all drug use diminishes performance and that testing may fail to deter the most potentially harmful substance abuse. There is no solid empirical evidence that drug testing is associated with enhanced organizational productivity and safety, and findings that persons who fail drug tests are inferior workers may be rooted in ethnic discrimination. Further, because drug testing detects exposure to a drug but cannot assess an individual's ability to perform, it is an inappropriate gauge for judging the suitability of employees or applicants. Drug tests may violate current and prospective employees' right to privacy and, according to a growing body of literature, may adversely affect their work attitudes and behaviors. Skills testing, which assesses employees' performance fitness less intrusively, is discussed as an alternative to biological testing.
Organization Science © 1994 INFORMS