Refusing a Drug Test After a Workplace Accident
Ryan Zavodnick | June 9, 2022 | Workers' Compensation
Refusing a drug test after a workplace accident in Philadelphia could result in denial of your workers’ compensation claim. It could also cost you your job. However, your employer cannot violate state or federal employment laws or workers’ compensation laws.
Therefore, seek legal advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer if your claim is denied or your employer fires you. There could be one or more valid defenses for refusing a drug test. Likewise, there could be valid reasons for challenging a positive drug test after a workplace accident.
For example, the drug test results might not be accurate. Your attorney might argue the drugs in your system shown on the drug test did not contribute to the cause of your workplace injury. Your lawyer investigates and gathers evidence to determine the best way to help you get the benefits you deserve after a work-related injury.
What Do OSHA Regulations Say About Drug Testing After Workplace Accidents?
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) rules prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for filing a claim for a work-related injury by using post-incident drug testing. However, that does not mean your employer cannot drug test you after you report being injured on the job.
OSHA regulations prevent drug testing after a work injury unless the employer has an “objectively reasonable basis” for requiring the drug test. Therefore, your employer might be within its rights to require a drug test if:
- The drug testing does not relate to the work-related illness or injury
- The drug testing includes all employees suspected to be involved in the work accident and is being used as an investigative tool to determine the cause of the workplace accident
- The drug test is being performed as a standard routine of random drug testing of employees
- State workers’ compensation law requires the drug test
- A U.S. Department of Transportation rule or other federal law requires the drug test
Employers who violate the OSHA regulations for drug testing employees after a work injury can face penalties. If you believe your drug test violated the law, talk with an attorney immediately.
What Does Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law Say About Drug Testing After Workplace Accidents?
Pennsylvania does not have a state law prohibiting employers from conducting drug tests after workplace injuries. Therefore, your employer can require a drug test after you are injured at work.
Many employers choose to drug test injured workers because state law bars workers’ compensation benefits if:
- The injury was self-inflicted; OR,
- A worker’s violation of the law caused the injury, including the illegal use of drugs.
Unfortunately, there is no state law restricting or regulating drug testing by private employers. Therefore, employers can use whatever drug test they desire for employees. Your employer could ask you to provide a urine, blood, hair strand, or breath sample for a drug test after you report an on-the-job injury.
Can I Be Denied Workers’ Compensation Benefits for Failing a Marijuana Drug Test in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act allows individuals to use marijuana with a valid prescription for medical purposes. However, the law does not prevent employers from disciplining an employee who is working under the influence of medical marijuana. The law also allows employers to discipline employees whose job performance falls below the expected level of care because of medical marijuana use.
Therefore, your workers’ compensation claim could be denied if you test positive for marijuana after an injury at work. The insurance company might claim that the marijuana in your system was why you were injured at work.
Contact a lawyer to discuss ways to fight the denial. Your attorney may file an appeal arguing that the medical marijuana did not impair your ability to perform your job. Furthermore, you could argue that the medical marijuana in your system did not contribute to the cause of your workplace injury.
What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover After a Workplace Accident?
Except in rare cases, you cannot sue your employer for a work-related injury. You are limited to what workers’ compensation covers.
You must notify your employer within 120 days of your injury. Reporting your injury within 21 days allows you to receive benefits from the date of your injury. After 21 days, your benefits begin on the date you report the injury.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that provides medical treatment for injured workers. You can also receive benefits for lost wages if you cannot work because of a work injury. However, you do not receive reimbursement for all loss of income.
You can receive up to two-thirds of your regular pay, subject to state minimum and maximum amounts. The Department of Labor & Industry sets the rates each year.
Workplace accidents can cause devastating injuries. Some workers’ could be permanently impaired.
You have the right to legal counsel for a workers’ compensation claim. Claims can be confusing, and insurance providers do not always treat injured workers fairly. Seeking legal advice can be the best way to protect your right to receive the workers’ comp benefits you deserve.
Contact Our Workers’ Compensation Law Firm in Philadelphia Today To Get Help With Your Case
To learn more and get the help you deserve, call Zavodnick & Lasky Personal Injury Lawyers at (215) 875-7030 or contact us online.
You can also visit our law firm at 123 S Broad St #1220, Philadelphia, PA 19109.