A Justified Infringement on Privacy? - A Qualitative Study on the Private Labour Market Actors’ Perceptions of Workplace Drug Testing

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Sammanfattning: The purpose of this study was to get an understanding of the perceptions and experiencesof drug tests as a measure to prevent substance use at workplaces. The focus was toexplore the perceptions of different actors within the private labour market concerningthe integrity-sensitive aspects that are connected to drug test at work places and tounderstand perceptions on drug prevention, positive test results and drug rehabilitation inrelation to drug tests. The empirical data was based on six semi-structured interviewswith private labour market actors working within the union, human resources andoccupational health services. The interview material was subsequently analysed using athematic analysis and discussed with the support from a theoretical framework based onsocial control and the concepts of panopticon, prevention, stigmatization andrehabilitation. The findings show that the workplace drug test and drug policy wereperceived to form a drug-preventive strategy. However, the interview participants differin their opinions about its efficiency. All participants emphasised the illicit substance usein Western parts of Sweden as a social problem, which entails safety and economicalrisks at the workplace. The interview participants had diverse notions of the privacyaspects and it often depended upon its relation to other circumstances such as the urinesampling process, the management of information or the safety reasons motivatingworkplace drug testing. The workplace drug testing is also considered as rehabilitative asit is presumed to act deterrent to people who use illicit drugs or are about to initiate druguse. But according to the interview participants, workplace drug testing can lead tostigmatization if the practices are not performed with dignity towards the employee. Thisthesis points out the unintended and intended consequences of workplace drug testingpolicy, practice, private law enforcement and the act of defining risky and criminalbehaviours, all in relation to individual privacy.

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