PON – Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School - https://www.pon.harvard.edu
Corporate Decision Making Role-Play:
Drug Testing in the Workplace
$0.00 – $6.00
Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld and Roger Winthrop
Three-person employment mediation between a truck driver and his company's personnel director, mediated by an Employee Assistance Program representative, regarding a positive drug test; a four-person version also includes a union representative
A truck driver in the highly competitive, deregulated trucking industry has tested positive for drug use in a random, workplace drug test. The driver has not actually taken any drugs, but tested positive because of passive exposure to marijuana. The personnel director, the truck driver, and a representative from the Employee Assistance Program Center are meeting to negotiate appropriate action. In the unionized version, a teamster business agent is also present.
Substantively, this exercise simulates the complex emotions that occur when someone's job is on the line. Work can be done with the guilt and anger that results.
There are also many context-lessons on doing testing — especially around mutual gains alternatives such as testing for impairment (reflex tests, etc.) rather than testing for drugs. Some employers have experimented along these lines to good effect. There are related issues around the potential benefits of such tests (where they are not legally mandated) in comparison to the costs.
The exercise provides opportunities for individuals to reflect the way in which we become locked in to unconstructive policies or career threatening stances — as well as prompting exploration of alternatives.
A key process lesson concerns the capacity of the EAP person to serve as a mediator, which varies with the unionized and non-union scenarios. In the unionized version, the EAP gets group together with the employer and mediation is more difficult.
Prof. Susskind’s Top 5 Environmental Negotiation Teaching Materials
From time to time, the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center asks PON-affiliated faculty to nominate their top five books, top five teaching videos or top five role-play simulations in certain fields or teaching settings. These change periodically.