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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

Can My Current Employer Find Out about a Failed Drug Test?

A failed drug test can spell disaster for an employee or job applicant. Worst case scenario is usually job loss, but sometimes a failed drug test can mean other consequences. Depending on the situation and the current or prospective employer, a failed drug test might not always be confidential.

Drug Test Basics

The most common drug test screening are the 5-panel and the 10-panel tests. In some cases, a drug test won’t pick up on Medical Marijuana due to the fact that the THC is sometimes be removed. Also, if you are using prescription medication, be sure to inform your employer before the drug test because these prescription drugs are often detected.

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5-Panel Drug Test

  1. Cocaine

  2. Amphetamine/Methamphetamine

  3. Opiates such as heroin, codeine and morphine

  4. Phencyclidine or PCP

  5. THC (marijuana)

10-Panel Drug Test

  1. Cocaine

  2. Amphetamine

  3. Methamphetamine

  4. Opiates such as heroin, codeine and morphine

  5. Phencyclidine or PCP

  6. THC (marijuana)

  7. Propoxyphene

  8. Methadone

  9. Barbiturates

  10. Benzodiazepines

Pennsylvania Law on Drug Testing

Pennsylvania has no laws on drug testing, which means that private employers are permitted to drug test as they see fit as long as it is in line with their company policy. This does mean that if an employee believes that a drug test was illegal that the employee will need to find a reason under another law to prove their claim. Speak with a lawyer if you suspect your drug test was illegal.

When an employee fails the drug test, the Pennsylvania unemployment compensation law allows the employer to terminate the employee. The employee also loses any unemployment compensation that he or she may have received due to the failed drug test.

Drug Test Results

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The results of a drug test are reported directly to the company that required the test. These results do not become part of the public record, meaning that no future employers will know the fail or pass from a background check. However, if criminal conviction occurs as a result of the drug test, that information will be a part of the public record. When an employee loses his or her current job due to failing a drug test, in some cases an employer is not permitted by law to tell the next employer the reason for termination.

Pennsylvania Law on Drug Test Results

The law tries to balance employee privacy with importance of a drug-free workplace. But in some cases, the law might rule in favor of the workplace and not the employee. At the end of 2016, the Pennsylvania courts ruled that employee drug and alcohol results aren’t confidential based on the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Control Act. This means that employers may be able to ask a job applicant’s previous employer for drug and alcohol test results. Public transportation and commercial vehicle drivers are held to a higher standard when it comes to drug testing and results.

If you believe your drug test was illegal, contact an employment 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

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