False Positive on Drug Test

“My teenage daughter was just turned down for a part-time summer job after she tested positive for amphetamines. She tried to explain that she takes a prescribed stimulant, but the manager refused to listen. Do we have any recourse?”

Several stimulant medications can produce “false positives” on tests for illicit drugs. Drug-testing services and employers are supposed to give job applicants a chance to explain any positive result. If a legitimate reason is offered – and supported by the individual’s doctor – the test result should be changed to negative. Since this clearly didn’t happen in your daughter’s case, you might consider filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (go to eeoc.gov to find the nearest office) and/or the human relations commission in your state (check the telephone directory under the “state government” heading).

These agencies will investigate your claim of discrimination at no cost to you. If your claim is deemed to have merit, the investigators will try to mediate a resolution between the two parties – often a cash payment or a promise by the employer to offer the plaintiff another job. Of course, since your daughter was seeking only part-time, summer employment, any restitution will likely be small.

In case you’ve been wondering whether your daughter should have revealed that she has ADHD during her job interview, the answer is no. Potential employers have no right to know that a prospective employee has ADHD.