Employment Law Update: Pennsylvania Court Rules Employee Drug Test Results Not Confidential

November 9, 2016

iStock Employment  ApplicationPursuant to a recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, employers who require employees to take drug or alcohol tests are not required to keep the results of such tests confidential pursuant to the Pennsylvania Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act.

On October 28, 2016, the Court issued an opinion that the Control Act only provides confidentiality of drug and alcohol tests relating to patients who take drug or alcohol tests for treatment purposes, and not to an employee, who took a drug or alcohol test for employment purposes.

The opinion is at odds with a 1999 case, Murray v. Surgical Specialties Corp., which held that the Control Act prohibited an employer from releasing employee drug tests results taken for employment purposes.

For a discussion of the case and how the Court reached its decision, the full text of the opinion can be found here: In the Matter of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of State, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (State Board of Nursing Investigation No. 14-51-05195) v. Abington Health.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University and works regularly with employers and employees to avoid and resolve employment issues.