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BusinessDoc, Consultant
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12816
Experience:  MD, MBA - Consulting & teaching in business and HR management issues
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Can an employer fail to hire you if you test positive for ...

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Can an employer fail to hire you if you test positive for benzos and phentermine (weight loss pill) even though you have a valid prescription? I don't mind taking a drug test, but I think that info should stay with's kind of personal to me.
Did you already take the drug test?

Do you know if the test was done by a certified laboratory?

Were the results reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO)?
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BusinessDoc's Post: No to all 3 questions.
OK - Then I will give you general information about how most companies perform drug testing based on the industry standard - the drug testing done under the Department of Transportation rules.

The company collects (or has someone collect) the urine - it is then sent to a certified laboratory. Two different tests are done of the specimen. A screening test (sensitive, but may have some false positives) and if that is positive, a confirmation with GC/MS (a specific test - more expensive to run, but basically a "chemical fingerprint")

If both tests are positive - the "certified result" is then sent to a Medical Review Officer (MRO) - a physician trained and certified in the interpretation of drug test results.

The MRO contact the donor to review the results to determine if there is valid medical explanation of the results. Some legal prescription drugs will be detected in drug tests (examples might include cough medicine with codeine, morphine given to someone in a hospital emergency room, Adderal for attention deficit disorder). If the doctor confirms appropriate medical use (based on the telephone interview and any necessary verification from doctors, pharmacies etc) - then the drug test is reported to the employer as "negative"

If the positive test result is NOT adequately explained by a prescription product - then the test is reported to the employer as positive.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BusinessDoc's Post: I do have valid prescriptions from my Doctor of many years.

Can they NOT hire me because I take these medications? Even if for ligitimate purposes? That is really my main question.

Is this information kept confidential in the HR department? I don't want the entire company to know I take Xanax!!!
If the medication was felt to be a safety issue - then indeed the company could refuse to hire you. An example might be something such as operating heavy equipment or construction cranes, where there would be concerns about the drowsiness associated with Xanax.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BusinessDoc's Post: Okay....let me see how I can word this for your answer to apply to me and my profession.

If I have a valid prescription for Xanax and Phentermine, and they go through all of the legal procedures, et al, they need to, can they refuse to hire me just because I take these medications?

I am a support person, actually inside sales coordinator. Not a truck driver or fork lift operator.

I know I am no the only women over 40 who takes medications for nerves, hormones, diet pills, etc.

What are the chances this would affect whether or not they hire me? I will up the money and give you a bonus if you answer these questions as they apply to me.

You're responses have been very good, if you're a truck driver which I am not.
If there is not a safety issue (which in your position there does not appear to be a problem), there is no legal justification to deny you employment based on your use of any prescription medication taken as directed by a licensed physician.

I should warn you that a "internet pharmacy" - "you don't need a prescription" type service that has a "doctor" prescribe whatever you want is NOT a valid legal use.

I assume that you actually see a physician, and that you are taking the medication as presscribed. In that case - there is no basis to deny employment on this basis, and would likely be a violation of the ADA.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to BusinessDoc's Post: That's the answer I was looking for, and NO they are not Internet whatever prescriptions. It's from my local Primary Care Physician.

Just out of curiosity, why do you throw that in? Do you get a lot of that Internet pill questions?
As a MRO, I did have a donor who did test positive for Valium that they purchased over the internet without a prescription - that had to be reported as positive. For that reason, I do bring it up - some people don't understand that this is not legal.
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