The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
AVVO
Western District of Pennsylvania
U.S. Air Force

Congress to Consider Bill Allowing States to Drug Test Unemployment Applicants

By: Joseph D. Pometto, Esq.

People Waiting in Line U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (Republican, Texas) recently introduced a bill in Congress that would allow states to drug test unemployment applicants. The new law, if passed, would allow states to test applicants who lost their jobs due to drug use or those applicants who are seeking work in a job that requires new employees to pass drug tests. The bill is titled the Ready to Work Act of 2016. The law would also allow states to design drug treatment programs to assist unemployed applicants who are having trouble overcoming their drug issues in order to be ready for work.

Congressman Brady argues that the bill is “a common sense measure to ensure unemployed workers are ready and available to work.” He also cited a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management which estimates that more than half of all businesses drug test their employees.

Opponents of the bill argue that the implementation of such drug testing is costly to the states and the taxpayers. Infrastructure and bureaucracy must be set up and paid for to actually test the applicants. Additionally, employees pay payroll taxes that are, in turn, used to fund their own unemployment benefits. Thus, states that deny benefits on the basis of a failed drug test would essentially be denying employees the benefits that their taxes are used to fund.

Currently the bill has 10 Republican co-sponsors. However, Democrats are likely to oppose the bill. Thus, until the bill is passed, no new restrictions as a result of the bill will be placed on benefits. Furthermore, the bill would not make it mandatory that the states test unemployment applicants, but would allow each state to do so individually. Thus, if passed, each state would need to take further action to implement the testing standards. For these reasons, the law is not likely to impact unemployment applicants anytime soon. If the law is implemented in the next few years, a number of states would likely follow suit and implement a testing scheme.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
"Joe is an excellent attorney. He does a fantastic job at laying out all the options in front of you and makes sure you understand what each one entails. He was also available and willing to speak with me at all times." Anonymous
★★★★★
"We were very satisfied with the legal representation Joe provided us in our defense. He was very professional and knowledgeable and did an excellent job getting the best outcome we could expect. We highly recommend Joe for handling any of your legal matters. You won’t be disappointed." Mike
★★★★★
"Joe is a great attorney, We couldn't have asked for a better person to handle our son's case. We had questions and he would get right back to us. Couldn't ask for a more kind hearted, caring, compassionate, honest and dedicated attorney. This was a very diffficult time for us and Joe made us feel at ease, because he really knew his job. I want to send a very special thank you for all you did." Tammi
★★★★★
"A friend recommended to mr Pometto and i couldn’t be happier. Joe consulted with me over the phone and gave me a few option pertaining to my case and i decided to hire him. He presented my options and explained my charges in a easy and very clear way to help me decide what was best for me. I would recommend mr Pometto to anyone for their legal needs and i would gladly hire him again let’s just hope i don’t need him." Dominic
★★★★★
"On June 26, 2017, Attorney Pometto handled a case for us defending our son. He was professional, attentive, understood our goal and put into place his plan to make that goal happen. He provided immediate responses to our calls and concerns and truly left us feeling that we were in good hands. The outcome of the hearing was exactly what he said it would be and we could not have been happier. We fully endorse this attorney and believe him to be a talented, knowledgable professional who will give his best." Marsha