John Phillips of The Word on Employment Law sees some cautionary signs in baseball's Mitchell Report for the workplace of the near future:
What does the “steroids era” in professional baseball mean? Maybe more than we want to admit right off the bat (no pun intended). There’s noise about the Mitchell report, but I don’t see outrage. There’s handwringing about its impact on potential hall of famers, but I don’t see shame. There’s pontificating about accountability, but I don’t see any. There’s talk about all the tainted money made during the sterioids era, but I don’t see anyone giving any of it back. Mitchell’s only concern seems to be that some of the players were cheating to improve their numbers, not that what they were doing was illegal. Indeed, he cautions against prosecuting the cheaters for their illegal activity.
Again, what does this mean–for all workplaces? Illegal drugs have become ok in certain circumstances. If injecting anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, or some drug yet to be invented will increase profitability or if smoking marijuana or snorting cocaine will make employees more productive (as some employees have always argued), then, well, gosh. We must stay competitive with the Chinese, who do have, after all, a plentiful supply of their juiced teas to give them an edge.
Notice I’m not talking about heroine or LSD or meth or crack cocaine. Not the bad drugs. I’m talking about the good drugs. Drugs that improve productivity and profits, not through their direct sale but through their enhancement of abilities. If certain baseball players can extend their careers while hitting 70+ home runs or throwing heaters clocked at 90+ mph, I’m thinking there are CEO’s, mid-level managers, frontline superviosrs and shop floor employees who can kick it into a much higher gear.
In another decade, will baseball have gotten tough with drugs and drug testing, or will American business have gone soft? Will drug testing even be an employment law subject? Will drug testing policies have gone the way of dress codes requiring a coat and tie?