One of the most effective means for eliminating court disputes is to carefully spell out sharply defined rights and procedures in statute, thereby removing those particular issues from the ebb and flow of common law decision-making. Statutory law can be instructive, telling employers and individuals what their rights are, what things they can properly do, and what things they cannot property do. Although court interpretation will inevitably stilt be necessary, carefully crafted legislation can limit the field of legal questions quite substantially.
An example of an area where statutory definition might prove helpful is in the field of substance testing. The courtrooms of this country are packed today with challenges to employer drug and other substance testing (such as pregnancy testing, testing for AIDS, etc.). What type of testing procedure is proper? What degree of confidentiality is necessary? What chemical tests are sufficiently accurate? What substances may the employer test for? These and many other questions must be litigated in an endless series of common law cases, all the while producing uncertainty and inviting still more legal challenges. A carefully crafted statutory scheme could reduce the amount of this litigation by spelling out the confines of proper testing. The statute could act as instruction and provide confidence to employers using its prescriptions. At the same time, many of the protections sought by individuals through the litigation process could be explicitly spelled out by statutory law instead. Although the statute would require interpretational cases, the number of lawsuits and the scope of court inquiry could be significantly reduced.