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Positive Drug Screen w/ Prescribed Meds

Our company does pre-employment drug testing. Recently I received a positive drug test on someone we would like to make an offer. Before being sent to the lab the lady told me she was on prescribed medications and I told her to bring them with her so they could list them when sending off her specimen to the lab. Well they did not ask and she tried to give the information and the clinic said it was not necessary, if there is an issue you will hear from the testing lab, MRO. The testing lab called her on three separate occasions w/o a return call. When confronted of her positive results due to her not responding to the MRO she said she listened to the voicemails but just thought someone was trying to sell her medical insurance, she did not put two and two together. The day I confronted her about the results, she provided the necessary documents from her Physician, I sent them to the MRO but the MRO came back with, “I will not overturn her drug test”. What should I do now? She was told she had three days to retest but I’m sure it will come back the same. I’ve never been in this spot and I’m not sure how to legally handle this. Do we hire her under the circumstances? Would we be discriminating if we did not?

It’s interesting that the testing lab won’t consider the documents that the prospective employee provided to you. They may have strict guidelines that prohibit their technicians from accepting such information from anyone but the individual being tested. Or, it may be that the medications the prospective employee is currently taking wouldn’t have caused her positive test results.

It sounds like this particular lab prefers to call individuals after the test if there is a potential false positive instead of requesting a list of medications up front. (A little unusual based on my experience.) If this is the case then the individual should retest and be ready for the phone call.

Unfortunately, beyond that there is not much you can do. You’ve enlisted the services of a medical lab to conduct drug testing and you should rely on their medical expertise and results. You may think certain medications caused the positive result but you may be wrong. Now, if you think the test wasn’t done properly or the individual won’t be treated fairly during the retest then you should contact the person in charge at the clinic to ensure the next test is done properly. Specifically mention your concern regarding the prospective employee not being able to provide a list of her medications and the potential for a false positive.

If the second test comes back positive and you don’t hire her, the decision isn’t discriminatory. The decision to not hire her had nothing to do with her currently taking medications. The decision was based on the fact that she failed her drug test. You’ll be further protected against such an allegation if you ensure the second test is done in a proper manner (by contacting someone in charge at the clinic) and you have a clear past practice of not hiring individuals with positive drug test results.


This entry was posted on Friday, June 16th, 2017 at 7:25 pm and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing.
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