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Drug Testing Physician Owes Duty to Employer, Not Prospective Employee
Description Job applicant who flunked pre-employment drug test sued physician and lab for negligence, claiming he could not have failed the test since he took no drugs. Appeals court upheld dismissal since the drug testers owed a duty to the employer that paid for the test, not the job applicant.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Negligence, Drug Test, Employment-at-Will
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Ney's prospective employer required a drug test. Ney's urine sample tested positive for drugs, so he was rejected by the employer. Ney sued the physician and laboratory in charge of the testing, contending they were negligent because he had not taken any drugs, so the test result was wrong and cost him a job. Trial court granted summary judgment for defendants; Ney appealed.
Decision Affirmed. The physician and lab were hired by the prospective employer, not by Ney, to perform the test, so there was no duty created between the test givers and Ney. "We are not willing to create a theory of liability for negligent doctors or medical laboratories that have contracted with third parties for employment-related testing." Further, under employment-at-will, an employer may be selective about who is hired, so long as laws concerning discrimination are not violated.
Citation Ney v. Axelrod, --A.2d-- (1999 WL 11499, Super. Ct., Pa.)
723 A.2d 719 (Sup.Ct., Pa., 1999)

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