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I need help with a Philosophy question. All explanations and answers will be used to help me learn.

For the issue of whistleblowing, consider whether you would blow the whistle on an employer – think of when you would and when you wouldn’t (is there a difference in terms of the severity of the act, for example?). Do you think that we owe our employer loyalty, and when might we be able to disregard that loyaly?

In addition, evaluate the argument presented by the authors against drug testing for workers, regardless of type of job or history of employee. Make sure that you explore how the right to privacy should be understood in terms of this issue. Use this forum to evaluate the pros and cons of this position.

222
P A R TI I B U S I N E SASN D E M P L O Y E E S
READING
6,5 DRUGTESTING
IN EMPLOYMENT
and Ronald Dtska
JosephDesJardins
We take privacy ro be an “employee righc,” by
which we mean a presumptivemoral entitlement to
receivecertain goods or be protected from certain
harms in the'”vorkplace.1Such a right createsa
primafacieobligation on rhe part of the employer to
provide the relevantgoods or, asin this case,refrair.r
from the relevantharmful rrearnrent.Theserights
prevent employeesfrom being placed in the fundamentally coerciveposition where they must choose
berween their jobs and other basichuman goods.
Further, we view the employer-employeerela^
tionship as essentiallycontracrual.Theemployeremployeerelationshipis an economic one and,
unlike reladonshipssuch as those berrveena government and its citizens or a parent and a child,
existsprimarily as a nleansfor satisfliingthe economic interestsof the conrracringparties.The obligations that eachparry incurs are only those that jr
voluntarily takeson. Given such a contractualrelationship,certain areasof the employeei life remain
his or her own private concern, and no employer
has a right to invade them. On thesepresumptions
we maintain that certain information about an
employee is rightfully private, in other words, that
the employeehasa righr to privacy.
THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY
George Brenkert has describedthe right to privacy
as involving a three-placerelation benveen a persor)
A, some information X, and another person Z.The
right to privacy is violated onJy when Z deliberately comes to possess
information X about A and
rro relationshipbetween A and Z existsthat rvould
justifi’ Z’s coming to know X aboutA.2Thus, for
example,the relationshipone haswith a mortgage
conrpany would justify that company’scoming to
knorv about one’ssalary,but the relationshipone
haswith a neighbor does not justify the neighbort
coming to know that information.
Hence, an employeei right ro privacy is violated whenever personal information is requested,
Fronr Brrsrrress
,ud Pn’fc$ioildl Ethi6_lathktl (1989) Reprirred by permission
collected,or r-rsed
bv an ernplol’erirr a rvay or for
any purpose that is irreleunnt
to or ill uiolationof the
contractualrelationshipthat eists betr,veen
employer and employee.
Sincedrug testingis a metns for obtaininq
inforrnation.rhe inforrnerionsoughtmusr be iele_
vant ro the contritctif rhe dmg restinqis not to vio_
late privacy.Hence, tve ntusr first decide whether
knowledge of drug use obrained by drug testing is
job relevant.In casesin rvhich the knowledee of
drug use is rrotrelevant,there appearsto be io justification for subjectingemployeesto drug tests.In
casesin which information of drug use isjob relevant, we need to consider if, r,vhen,and under what
conditions using a meanssuch as drug testing to
obtain sharknowledge is jusritied.
I 5 K N O W L E D G EO F D R U G U 5 E
JOB-REtEVANT
INFORMATION?
Two argumentsare used to establishthat knowledgc
of drug use isjob-relevant information.The 6rst
argument claims that drus use adverselyaffectsjob
performance,thereby leading to lorver productiviry
higher costs,and consequentlylorver profits.Drug
testing is seenas a rvay ofavoiding theseadverse
effects.Accordingto some esrimates$25 billion are
lost each year in rhe United Statesthrough lossin
productiviry theft, higher raresin health and liabiliry
insurance,and similar costsincurred becauseof
drug use.3Since employersare contracting with an
employeefor the performance of specificrasks,
employersseem to have a legitimate claim upon
‘”vhateverpersonalinlormacion is rele,”antco
an
employeei abLliryto do the job.
The secondargumenr claims that drue use has
been and can be responsible
for considera6le
harnr
to individual employees,to rheir fellow employees,
and to the employer,and third parties,including
consumers.In this casedrue tesringis defended
becauseit is seenasa w:ry of preventing possibie
harm. Further, since employerscan be held liable
fbr harms done to employeesand customers,
knorvledgeofemployee drug use is neededso that
EI G H T SH: E A L T HE, Q U A L I T YA,N D P R I V A C Y
C H A P T E5
R E M P L O Y ER
from risksrelated
canprotectthemselves
ernployers
good
are
thesearguments?
But
how
Liabiliry.
to such
)yer ln a way or for
‘t or iil
violatiotof the
dsts berr,veen
rnsfor obtaining
ought must be rele_
I testingis not to vio_
rst decide whether
rd by drug testingis
rhe knowledge of
lpears to be no justi_
es to drug tests.In
lrug useisjob releren, and under what
rs drug testing to
.d.
5 USE
TION?
lish that knowledge
nation.The first
lverselyafi’ectsjob
lower produciviry
rver profits. Drug
g theseadverse
tes925 billion are
s rhrough lossin
nealth and liabrliry
rd becauseof
ntractlng with an
specifictasks,
te claim upon
‘elevant
to an
hat drug use has
nsiderableharm
‘llow employees,
res,including
; is defended
rting possible
be held liable
Lrstonlers,
needed so that
T H E F I R S TA R G U M E N T :
J O B P E R F O R M A N CAEN D K N O W L E D G E
O F D R U GU S E
The firstargumentholdsthat drug uselorversproductiviry and that consequently,an awarenessof
drug use obtained through drug testing will allow
an employer to maintain or increaseproductiviry.It
is generallyassumedthat the performance of people
using certain drugs is detrimentally affectedby such
use,and any use ofdrugs that reducesproductiviry
is consequentlyjob relevant.If knowledge of such
drug use allorvs the employer to eliminate production losses,such knowledge isjob relevant.
On the surfacethis argument seemsreasonable.
Obviously some drug use,in lowering the level of
performance,can decreaseproductiviry.Since the
employer is entitled to a certain level ofperformance and drug use adverselyaffectsPerformance,
knowledge of that use seemsjob relevant.
But this formulation of the argument leavesan
important question unanswered.Towhat level of
performance are employers entitled? Optimal performance,or some lower level?If some lower level,
what? Employers have a valid claim upon some celtain leuelof performance,such that a failure to perform at this level would give the employer a
justification for disciplining,firing, or at leastfinding fault with the employee.But that does not necessarilymean that the employer has a right to a
maximum or optirnal level of performance, a level
above and beyond a certain level ofacceptability.It
rnight be nice if the employee gives an employer a
maximum effort or optimal performance, but that is
above and beyond the call of the employee’s dury
and the employer can hardly claim a right at all
rimes to the highest level of performance of which
an employeeis capable.. . .
If the person is producing what is expected,
knowledge ofdrug use on the grounds ofproduction is irrelevantsince,by this hypothesis,the proIf, on the other hand, the
duction is satisfactory.
performancesuffers,then to the extent that it slips
below the leveljustifiablv expected,the employer
has preliminary grounds for warning, disciplining,
223
or releasingthe employee.But the justification for
this action is the persont unsatisfactoryperformance,not the person’suse of drugs.Accordinglv,
drug use information is either unnecessaryor irrelevant and consequentlythere are not sufiicient
groundsto override the right oIprivecy.Thus.
unlesswe can argue that an employer is entitled to
optimrl performence.rhe argumentfaiJs.
This counterargument should make it clear that
the information that is job relevant,and consequently is not rightfully private,is information
about an employeet level of performance and not
informatron about the underlying causesof that
level.The fallacy of the argument that promotes
drug testing in the name of increasedproductivity is
the assumptionthat each employee is obliged to
perform at an optimal or at leastquite high level.
But this is required under few if any contracts.What
is required contractuallyis meeting the normally
expectedlevelsof production or performing the
tasksin thejob description adequately(not optimally).If one can do that under the influence of
drugs,then on the grounds ofjob performanceat
least,drug use i rightfully private.An employee
who cannot perform the task adequatelyis not fulfilling the contract, and knowledge of the causeof
the failure to perform is irrelevant on the contractual model.
Of course,if the employer suspectsdrug use or
abuseas the causeofthe unsatisfactoryperfornlance,then she rnight choose to help the person
with counselingor rehabiiitation.However, this
does not seem to be something moraliy required of
the employer. Rather, in the caseof unsatisfactory
performance, the employer has a primafaciejustification for dismissingor disciplining the employee.. . .
T H E S E C O N . DA R G U M E N T :
HARM AND THE KNOWLEDGE OF DRUG
USE TO PREVENTHARM
The performance argument is inadequate,but there
is an argument that seemssomewhat stronger.This
is an argument that takesinto account the fact that
drug use often leadsto harm. Using a variant of the
Millian argument, which allows interference with a
person’srights in order to prevent harm, we could
argue that drug testing might be justified if such
F
224
P A R TI I 8 U 5 I N E 5A5 N D E M P L O Y E E S
testing led to knowledge that would enablean
employer to prevent harm.
Drug use certainly can lead to harrning others.
Consequently,if knowledge of such drug use can
prevent harm, then knowing whether or not an
employeeusesdrugs might be a legitimate concern
of an employer in certain circumstances.Thissecond argument claims that knowledge of the
employee’sdrug use is job relevantbecauseempioyeeswho are under the influence ofdrugs can pose a
threat to the health and saferyof themselvesand
others,and an employer who knows of that drug
use and the harm it can causehas a responsibiliryt
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