Pennsylvania Alcohol and Drugs: What you need to know

Pennsylvania does not have a state law that regulates or prohibits drug testing in the private sector. However, private employers that choose to implement a testing program should be sensitive to the privacy issues involved. For example, a random drug testing policy may compete with an individual's right to privacy. Pennsylvania courts use a balancing test that seeks to determine whether a reasonable person would find the employer's program highly offensive. The courts weight the employee's privacy with the employer's interest in maintaining a substance-free workplace.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation law upholds an employer’s right to discharge an employee following a positive drug test. In Pennsylvania, an employee is ineligible for unemployment compensation if he or she was discharged or suspended because of:
• A failure to submit to a legitimate drug test; or
• A failure to pass a legitimate drug test. For Pennsylvania’s unemployment compensation purposes, all employer drug tests must be conducted under the employer’s established substance abuse policy.
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The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of certain classifications, including disability or handicap. The Act covers public employers and private employers with four or more employees. However, current addicts or illegal users of a controlled substance are not disabled for purposes of the state law against disability discrimination (PA Stat. Tit. 43 Sec. 951et seq.).
ADA compared. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers alcoholism to be a disability, but not the current use of illegal drugs. However, the ADA does protect individuals who either are ...

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