What Are My Employee Rights For A Random Workplace Drug Test?

Pennsylvania has no rules that regulate or restrict an employer’s ability to demand that workers submit to random workplace drug tests. Although an employee has free will to choose whether or not they participate in the drug test, since Pennsylvania employment is “at-will,” an employer may fire you for not taking the drug test. Employees find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to drug testing since they have few rights.

Workplace Drug Test: Prove Your Innocence

In some industries, employers might just pull names from a hat and test those employees for drugs, even if those employees gave no suspicion of drugs on the job. Basically, this action reveals that the employer is operating from the suspicion that the employees are guilty until proven innocent. At this time, drug tests only shows that employees have done drugs recently, but the tests cannot show when the drugs were taken (if on the job or not).

What Can Happen If I Test Positive For Drugs?

The obvious possibilities is that your employer may choose to fire you or not hire you if you were applying for the job. However, sometimes employers might choose a different response. For example, the US Department of Transportation, instead of firing employees who tested positive for drugs, bans them from performing safety-sensitive responsibilities while enrolling those employees in a treatment program. Once that employee finishes the program and passes a “return to duty” drug test, that employee returns to all responsibilities.

What If I Hung Out With People Smoking Weed, Will That Show On A Drug Test?

Passive drug use is unintentional use. If you attend a music concert and happen to inhale marijuana smoke, that is passive drug use. Perhaps you handle a dollar bill that had been used in the past to snort cocaine, you would absorb some of the drug through the skin. No need to worry about a surprise drug test because passive use measures far below the levels that will result in failing a drug test.

Does Pennsylvania Have A Drug Testing Law?

No, Pennsylvania doesn’t have a law regulating drug testing. Pennsylvania also doesn’t have a law dealing with drug testing in private employment. Unless drug testing violates other legal provisions, employers have no restrictions placed on them for drug testing.

How Can I Sue My Employer For An Illegal Drug Test?

Well, first of all, since Pennsylvania law does not set any parameters for employee drug testing, an employee who suspects an employer of illegal drug testing must have a theory based on other laws. Of course, proving that your employer illegally administered a drug test will be extremely difficult since there aren’t any laws regulating drug tests. However, a lawyer often sees right to the heart of the issue and can help you create a case supported by other laws.

suited man in front of courthouse

Cases Where Drug Testing Is Illegal

Disability Discrimination

Some disabilities require that employees with that disability takes certain medications that would result in a positive drug test. In certain circumstances, workers with disabilities are prescribed opiates. When an applicant is turned down for a job due to prescribed drugs that showed up on a drug test, the business could be liable.

Other Types of Discrimination

Sometimes an employer discriminates against a certain group of people requiring that they take more drug tests than others. When an employer continually stereotypes a group of employees based on race, age, gender, or color, discrimination is very likely occurring. Since discrimination is illegal, the employer could face a discrimination lawsuit.

Invasion of Privacy

Although an employer may have reasonable suspicions to give an employee a drug test, the way that the test is administered might violate an employee’s privacy. An example might be if the employer tells the employee to strip down and give the urine sample in front of other employees. Other types of similar circumstances could be extreme invasion of privacy.


An employee who has been accused of a false positive result on a drug test and suffers negative employment action when the employer should have known that the result was false has faced defamation. Defamation is when someone’s words damages the reputation of another in such a way that the damage results in severe financial loss.


If you have experienced discrimination in drug testing, contact an employment discrimination lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

Don’t hesitate, talk to an attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com.