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I'm going to be very transparent. I was supposed to begin my residency position soon, however, I failed my pre-employment hair follicle examination, because I tested positive for cannabis. They informed me yesterday that they decided to terminate my contract due to the failed pre employment drug screen, which is in my contract. However, in my contract I was supposed to be given an opportunity to defend myself, and never received that chance. I also live in a state where cannabis is legal for recreational use. Also one last side note, I had received an email that stated that I was going to get a urine drug screen, and I found out two days before hand that it was going to be a hair follicle examination.

So I guess some of my questions are:

1) Can I fight this? (And in that regard is it worth it, because it would obviously create some tension between me and my program)
2) Can I find a residency spot still somewhere else? (speaking to people, it seems like I may be able to find a spot in an unfilled program, and just be a bit delayed in terms of my start date)
3) Where could I find a list of unfilled residency spots? (I contacted The Match and they told me that they do not have that information)
4) At what point am I considered an "employee" is it when I matched? Or my first day?


Thanks and I appreciate any help in this situation
 

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Fired for being positive for cannabis? Sounds pretty extreme, at least to me. My hospital system had the same policy as yours, and they extended it to smoking, which they tested with blood test. However, people that tested positive were put on probation.
 
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Fired for being positive for cannabis? Sounds pretty extreme, at least to me. My hospital system had the same policy as yours, and they extended it to smoking, which they tested with blood test. However, people that tested positive were put on probation.
I agree wholeheartedly, but nonetheless I don't know how much I can do about it.
 
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Giovanotto

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Is hair follicle testing for cannabis a common thing? I'm pretty sure a third of my class would fail that if so. This can't be real, holy moly.
 
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smq123

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Is hair follicle testing for cannabis a common thing? I'm pretty sure a third of my class would fail that if so. This can't be real, holy moly.

Not that common, but it does happen. My husband had to do follicle testing for his intern year.
 
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Goro

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I'm going to be very transparent. I was supposed to begin my residency position soon, however, I failed my pre-employment hair follicle examination, because I tested positive for cannabis. They informed me yesterday that they decided to terminate my contract due to the failed pre employment drug screen, which is in my contract. However, in my contract I was supposed to be given an opportunity to defend myself, and never received that chance. I also live in a state where cannabis is legal for recreational use. Also one last side note, I had received an email that stated that I was going to get a urine drug screen, and I found out two days before hand that it was going to be a hair follicle examination.

So I guess some of my questions are:

1) Can I fight this? (And in that regard is it worth it, because it would obviously create some tension between me and my program)
2) Can I find a residency spot still somewhere else? (speaking to people, it seems like I may be able to find a spot in an unfilled program, and just be a bit delayed in terms of my start date)
3) Where could I find a list of unfilled residency spots? (I contacted The Match and they told me that they do not have that information)
4) At what point am I considered an "employee" is it when I matched? Or my first day?


Thanks and I appreciate any help in this situation
Pot is still illegal at the Federal level.

As point out, you're in lawyer country now.
 
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Raryn

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We should save this post for the next time people start arguing about how no employer cares about pot anymore.
 
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calvnandhobbs68

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This can't be overstated. It's schedule 1 per the DEA. The same DEA that controls your controlled substance prescribing.

Yup. The same DEA that can decide to never let you write another controlled substance legally ever again.

As soon as you match, stop smoking the ganja.

OP get an employment lawyer yesterday in the state the residency program is in, make sure you ask what experience they have in medical legal issues (don't want someone who's never dealt with a hospital HR department before).
 
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It's so easy to screw up

I don't really put this in the category of "can't believe how easy it is to screw up". It's an unfortunate situation, but one that had a fairly easy and clear-cut way to avoid it, which was also completely within the OP's control.
 
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gutonc

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This is so scary man. It's so easy to screw up

And can someone answer his question #2 and #4? @NotAProgDirector
These are the easy ones:
2) Yes, but unlikely at this point. Especially since any program with a spot to fill is going to ask why you didn't match or what happened to your matched spot.
4) On the day your signed and executed contract says you are to start working. Hence the rare, but in this case obviously clear, recommendation to lawyer up.
 
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At my program, the onboarding process, which included employee health and HR, did not include a UDS or any drug screen of any kind. Is this an anomaly or fairly common?
 

Mass Effect

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This is so scary man. It's so easy to screw up

No, it's not. Oversleeping is easy to screw up. Forgetting to sign an order is easy to screw up. Having your pen explode in your white coat pocket is easy to screw up. Smoking pot while knowing you have credentialing/drug testing pending? Not so easy.
 
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Mass Effect

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At my program, the onboarding process, which included employee health and HR, did not include a UDS or any drug screen of any kind. Is this an anomaly or fairly common?

Likely an anomaly. Read your contract and see if it says anything about it. One of my classmates had a UDS after intern year started rather than during on-boarding.
 
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NotAProgDirector

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I'm going to be very transparent. I was supposed to begin my residency position soon, however, I failed my pre-employment hair follicle examination, because I tested positive for cannabis. They informed me yesterday that they decided to terminate my contract due to the failed pre employment drug screen, which is in my contract. However, in my contract I was supposed to be given an opportunity to defend myself, and never received that chance. I also live in a state where cannabis is legal for recreational use. Also one last side note, I had received an email that stated that I was going to get a urine drug screen, and I found out two days before hand that it was going to be a hair follicle examination.

So I guess some of my questions are:

1) Can I fight this? (And in that regard is it worth it, because it would obviously create some tension between me and my program)
2) Can I find a residency spot still somewhere else? (speaking to people, it seems like I may be able to find a spot in an unfilled program, and just be a bit delayed in terms of my start date)
3) Where could I find a list of unfilled residency spots? (I contacted The Match and they told me that they do not have that information)
4) At what point am I considered an "employee" is it when I matched? Or my first day?


Thanks and I appreciate any help in this situation
Oy.

If the contract states that you get a chance to defend yourself, then you should be able to insist upon that. If you use it for medical reasons and can prove that with documentation dated before all of this happened, then maybe you have a chance.

Whether it's legal where you live is immaterial. It's illegal federally, and your employer can decline to hire you over it.

Changing from a urine to a hair test is also within their rights.

1. Yes you can fight it. Whether it's worth it or not is really up to you. Unclear how likely you are to prevail.
2. Yes. In fact, because of visa problems lots of residencies may have openings. They may not be in your field of choice, or the quality of program you were hoping for, or the location. However, you cannot start looking for a new spot until you get a match waiver. Your program will apply for one, and it will take about 2 weeks. As to whether other programs might take you, some might agree that hair testing is overly aggressive.
3. As mentioned, there is no central list. Some fields have listings, many do not.
4. This, I think, is pretty clear although may be based upon state law. You're usually not "hired" until you complete on boarding. If you fail the onboarding process, you were never hired. That's somewhat convenient -- since you won't have to list this on applications in the future. It's like it never happened -- unless you get asked whether you have ever failed the on boarding process at an employer.
 
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manny24

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So does this mean OP is BANNED from the NRMP match for breaking the match binding agreement?
 
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Like Stephen A Smith says.........."Stay off the WEED!".

You are done at that place. Look for another spot if you can get it. My program had someone fail the drug test due to cannabis. 3 years ago, still not a resident. Probably depends on what part of country you live in too. But, do not expect this to be an easy process.
 
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calvnandhobbs68

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Hair follicle testing is rough. You would have had to stop essentially before match day

Although this could actually work out to OPs benefit since he technically is supposed to have an opportunity to defend himself. He could argue that since he didn’t know what program he matched to, the substance was legal in his state and as soon as he learned he matched he stopped all use per the onboarding hospital policy and the hair follicle testing is picking up prior use before he learned of the terms of his employment. He could feasibly then ask to undergo a urine drug screen which at this point would be negative or undergo another hair follicle test sometime in the future which his lawyer would probably be able to argue is a reasonable request. I’m betting the hospital HR department just has a no exceptions policy and OP got the bad end of it.

He needs to get a lawyer now and challenge it right away though to have a chance.
 
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Although this could actually work out to OPs benefit since he technically is supposed to have an opportunity to defend himself. He could argue that since he didn’t know what program he matched to, the substance was legal in his state and as soon as he learned he matched he stopped all use per the onboarding hospital policy and the hair follicle testing is picking up prior use before he learned of the terms of his employment. He could feasibly then ask to undergo a urine drug screen which at this point would be negative or undergo another hair follicle test sometime in the future which his lawyer would probably be able to argue is a reasonable request. I’m betting the hospital HR department just has a no exceptions policy and OP got the bad end of it.

He needs to get a lawyer now and challenge it right away though to have a chance.

And what's to stop the hospital from asking for a follicle test next month? The OP didn't stop using after Match Day. This isn't going to go away by lying.
 
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And what's to stop the hospital from asking for a follicle test next month? The OP didn't stop using after Match Day. This isn't going to go away by lying.

Presumably he would stop now that he is in danger of losing his entire career
 
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I actually think saying that you haven't smoked since you matched might be a winning argument. Hair tests can remain positive for 90 days.
 
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deleted480308

Dangit kids. You have a bleeping >$200k/yr job until you are too senile to think and you eff it up over some weed.

You had ONE job.

ugh, get a lawyer. Good luck and stop making high risk low reward decisions
 
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Presumably he would stop now that he is in danger of losing his entire career
I actually think saying that you haven't smoked since you matched might be a winning argument. Hair tests can remain positive for 90 days.

But there's no indication OP stopped smoking after Match Day. Lying isn't going to cut it.
 
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VA Hopeful Dr

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No, it's not. Oversleeping is easy to screw up. Forgetting to sign an order is easy to screw up. Having your pen explode in your white coat pocket is easy to screw up. Smoking pot while knowing you have credentialing/drug testing pending? Not so easy.
In fairness, it's not always announced. My program did it like a month after the Match during a weekend get to know you/fill out forms thing.

I failed mine, was on a codeine cough syrup for bronchitis. Soon as I knew they were testing, I told them what was going on and offered to get records from my PCP to prove it.

Never heard a thing about it other than the nurses mocking me later for how nervous I was when explaining it.
 
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Looks like probably around 20-30% of medical students use cannabis at some point during medical school and at any given time 10% of them have used it in the last 30 days.

I've lived in 4 states in my life and all have legalized marijuana recreationally. I think the attitude and culture towards marijuana in a lot of the US is extremely outdated -- by the time we are mid-career or even sooner I expect the USA of to changed cannabis from being a schedule I drug as there is no scientific basis for it being included in that category. In fact the prohibition of marijuana is based on a racist intent of targeting people of color, and currently people of color are disproportionately affected by marijuana possession crimes. So especially in this current environment I expect more attention to be paid towards liberalizing marijuana laws.

Now EVEN with that as my personal view on the topic and my life history growing up in marijuana permissive states. I have not and would never smoke marijuana on clinical rotations as a medical student, pending hospital credentialing or while working as a resident. The simple truth is it's against the current law of our country. If you disagree with a law the answer isn't to break it, it's to campaign against it. You are just too vulnerable as a medical student and a resident to be able to afford to use cannabis. If caught you are literally risking a multimillion dollar career while drowning in medical school debt. It makes no sense to take a puff of a marijuana when the consequences can be so drastic.

So my advice to future readers, reading this post, is to recognize your vulnerability. Exercise self control and hold off on any drug use that can risk your job. To OP I agree with the others. You should consult with an employment lawyer but your hospital/PD has already decided to cut their losses with you before even hiring you. You might be looking at scrambling into an open spot somewhere around the country or reapplying in the match next year.
 
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Looks like probably around 20-30% of medical students use cannabis at some point during medical school and at any given time 10% of them have used it in the last 30 days.

I've lived in 4 states in my life and all have legalized marijuana recreationally. I think the attitude and culture towards marijuana in a lot of the US is extremely outdated -- by the time we are mid-career or even sooner I expect the USA of to changed cannabis from being a schedule I drug as there is no scientific basis for it being included in that category. In fact the prohibition of marijuana is based on a racist intent of targeting people of color, and currently people of color are disproportionately affected by marijuana possession crimes. So especially in this current environment I expect more attention to be paid towards liberalizing marijuana laws.

We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not it should be legal, but let's not pretend there isn't legitimate evidence that it's not safe.
 
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We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not it should be legal, but let's not pretend there isn't legitimate evidence that it's not safe.
And even if it becomes legal, employers can still test you for it if there's a concern. Like we do with booze or any other controlled substance.
 
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We can argue until the cows come home about whether or not it should be legal, but let's not pretend there isn't legitimate evidence that it's not safe.

This isn't a thread on marijuana legalization so not going to go there. Would I let my under 24yo kid smoke marijuana based on current medical evidence? No. But the societal harm of war on drugs vs a tax, regulate and treatment of addiction philosophy is well known. There are better paths forward in this issue then the current dated, failed approach.
 
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NotAProgDirector

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So does this mean OP is BANNED from the NRMP match for breaking the match binding agreement?
Not at all. Assuming the OP isn't successful in an appeal of some sort, the program will apply for a match waiver due to failing onboarding. It will be approved, and the match will be voided. The OP will be free to match again.

In fairness, it's not always announced. My program did it like a month after the Match during a weekend get to know you/fill out forms thing.
Our program requires a test within 72 hours of match. Not kidding. Our HR demands it upon offer, and we consider the match an offer. We use a national testing company, so you can get tested locally.
 
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Raryn

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Not at all. Assuming the OP isn't successful in an appeal of some sort, the program will apply for a match waiver due to failing onboarding. It will be approved, and the match will be voided. The OP will be free to match again.


Our program requires a test within 72 hours of match. Not kidding. Our HR demands it upon offer, and we consider the match an offer. We use a national testing company, so you can get tested locally.
Out of curiosity, what would you do if an incoming resident was on their international away rotation in Uganda on match day?

(Or they were an IMG who was at home for March, or whatever)
 

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I was just going to say the same. Post this on pre-Allo or Allo and watch it explode.
Well, speak of the devil....
 
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Aren't hair tests way too sensitive and catch second hand smoke? In legal cities its impossible to get away from weed and you catch a lot of second hand smoke. Especially since now apparently its okay to vape/dab inside...
 
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Aren't hair tests way too sensitive and catch second hand smoke? In legal cities its impossible to get away from weed and you catch a lot of second hand smoke. Especially since now apparently its okay to vape/dab inside...
I've seen pubic hair be tested when this argument was made.
 
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Out of curiosity, what would you do if an incoming resident was on their international away rotation in Uganda on match day?

(Or they were an IMG who was at home for March, or whatever)
The student would need to prove they were unable to be tested, and then they must test immediately upon return. It's rare that a student is away on match day (in case of SOAP), but has happened that a student is out on an LOA (maternity / paternity leave, etc). If you can prove you are unable to be tested in a timely window, the window is extended. But they would need supporting documentation.
 
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The student would need to prove they were unable to be tested, and then they must test immediately upon return. It's rare that a student is away on match day (in case of SOAP), but has happened that a student is out on an LOA (maternity / paternity leave, etc). If you can prove you are unable to be tested in a timely window, the window is extended. But they would need supporting documentation.

This is dumb and unnecessary on the part of your program/hospital. Sending people on match day to go and get drug tested? Do you tell them about that at the interview, "hey if you match here we will expect a urine or hair sample to test for the drugs within 3 days of the match"? Are they even obligated to do it? Doesn't matter what HR says, matters what NRMP says. No better way to alienate residents than by saying "Congrats on matching to our program! We have zero trust in your ability to not be a ganja addict, so we demand that you give us your pee within 3 days, or we will invalidate all the years of work that you did!"

I'm fine with drug testing and if applicants know that the program they are ranking is going to pull something like this. Like Cleveland clinic and other places that to nicotine testing on their employees - it's well known.
 
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This is dumb and unnecessary on the part of your program/hospital. Sending people on match day to go and get drug tested? Do you tell them about that at the interview, "hey if you match here we will expect a urine or hair sample to test for the drugs within 3 days of the match"? Are they even obligated to do it? Doesn't matter what HR says, matters what NRMP says. No better way to alienate residents than by saying "Congrats on matching to our program! We have zero trust in your ability to not be a ganja addict, so we demand that you give us your pee within 3 days, or we will invalidate all the years of work that you did!"

I'm fine with drug testing and if applicants know that the program they are ranking is going to pull something like this. Like Cleveland clinic and other places that to nicotine testing on their employees - it's well known.

Welcome to the real world.
 
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