Workplace drug testing is controversial. Some feel that it is a violation of their personal freedom, while others consider it a necessary evil that helps to ensure the safety of the workplace and staff members.

The concept of safety can mean different things. If someone is driving a truck while impaired, there is the possibility that that they can cause an accident that results in injury or loss of life, as well as damage to the business’ reputation and the physical loss of the vehicle and cargo.

If you are an office worker, your attitude might be, “Hey, a joint during my break helps me calm down. Who am I harming?” True, an office setting is not likely one where an impaired person could cause a catastrophic accident, but substance use during work hours can reduce your ability to do the job. That means work that does not live up to standard and reflects badly upon you and the company. It is possible to also alienate clients and cause them to take their business elsewhere.

Drug use also affects judgment. A successful office finds everyone behaving in a professional fashion with each other. That means treating each other with respect at all times. An impaired person is more likely to stray from that and cause a situation or say something that violates this unspoken professional code.

In short, you should try to avoid substance abuse on the job at all times. The legalization of marijuana in Canada next year means that it will be easy to come by, but that does not mean that the regular rules of business no longer apply. Thus, if employers feel they are within their rights to ask workers to take drug tests, then I believe that is justified. Everyone needs to blow off steam, but at the right time and not on company time.