Pennsylvania Drug Testing Laws 2021

Pennsylvania Drug Testing Laws 2021

Uritox

Table Of Contents:

Pennsylvania passed the Medical Marijuana Act legalizing medical marijuana, although the use of marijuana still remains illegal at the federal level and classified as a Schedule I drug. However, the state is yet to legalize recreational marijuana even though there has been strong support for its legalization.

National law still requires testing by employers in safety-sensitive industries such as transportation, aviation, NASA contractors, and the Department of defense. In Pennsylvania, the state and local law enforcement agencies determine the rights and limitations of an employer in performing a drug test.

The employer may perform drug or alcohol testing if the employer has reasonable grounds for believing that the employee is under the influence of drugs. However, employers cannot administer a drug or alcohol test without the prior consent of the employee.

Who will be tested and why?

Employers who adopt a drug-free workplace program may require an employee to submit to either a drug test for controlled substances or an alcohol test. The list of illegal drugs to be tested should also be clearly outlined. The employer should also ensure that the testing is conducted under the employer's substance abuse policy and that the information relating to a drug test is not publicized.

Under the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation law, an employer reserves the right to discharge an employee in the event of a positive drug test. Failure to submit to a drug test could also lead to termination and make an employee ineligible for unemployment compensation. An employer may choose to perform a drug test for assessing an employee for the following reasons:

1. Random Selection Testing

An employee shall submit to a drug test on a random selection basis.  The names of the employees selected for testing must be kept confidential until the test. Random testing may be conducted at any time with prior notification to the employees.

2. Reasonable Suspicion Testing

An employee must submit to a drug test if there is a reasonable suspicion to believe that an employee is under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol.

3. Pre-employment Testing

Pre-employment drug testing is only required for controlled substances, although some tests may involve testing for alcohol. However, the federal American with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from conducting alcohol testing until after a conditional offer for employment has been made. Pre-employment drug testing is necessary for safety-sensitive positions such as transportation, where commercial motor vehicle applicants will be tested.

4. Follow-up Testing

An employee may submit to a follow-up testing if the employee voluntarily disclosed drug or alcohol problems, entered into or completed a rehabilitation program, failed, or refused a pre-appointment drug test within the previous 24-month period.

5. Post-incident Testing

An employee shall submit to a drug test if there is evidence that the employee may have caused or contributed to an on-duty accident or harm resulting in death or injury requiring immediate medical attention.

Pennsylvania marijuana laws 2021

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has been incredibly vocal about the legalization of marijuana, urging state lawmakers to legalize recreational adult-use marijuana.

Legislation relating to marijuana laws in Pennsylvania presents new challenges for employers in the workplace setting. Employers need to be aware of the existing statutes that prohibit workplace discrimination against applicants and employees who use medical marijuana. Under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, applicants and employees with valid medical marijuana registration cannot be discharged, threaten, or refused to hire as long as they use it off-work hours.

Top 10 companies that drug test in Pennsylvania

The growing instance of illicit drug users in the workplace has led employers to enforce drug-free workplace policies for disciplining and discharging employees. Here's a list of the top 10 companies that conduct drug testing in Pennsylvania:

  • The Phillips Group
  • Walmart
  • Bayer
  • Amazon
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Seagate
  • Target
  • Home Depot
  • Frito-Lay
  • American Express

The bottom line

A drug-free workplace ensures a safer working environment by reducing the risks and dangers of an employee under the influence of drugs. In the absence of any legal provisions in the state of Pennsylvania, employers are free to adopt a drug-free workplace program that may require an employee to submit to either a drug test for controlled substances or an alcohol test. However, drug testing in the workplace requires extreme prudence and should ensure that the employee's privacy, dignity, and reputation are not violated under any circumstances.


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