I just had an offer for my absolute dream job at a large British bank in New York rescinded 2 days before I was to show up for work. I had signed all forms and passed the background check, but I came up as positive on the (
. I have never taken a benzodiazepine and am posting anonymously so you know I have zero reason to lie.
First off I was shocked that they would test me for non-illegal pharmaceuticals - I do take ambien
, but by prescription; ambien is known to be all but in name a benzodiazepine. This was indeed a false positive: just logically, why would I sneak over and buy some make-you-sleepy pills from Frankie the Minimal-Recreational-Value-Prescription-Medication Pusher rather than just get a prescription, especially given that my doctor has given me a prescription for essentially the same thing? But since zolpidem is not technically classified as a benzodiazepine it "wouldn't show up" thus I must have been lying. I was told by their human resources android simply that they have a zero-tolerance policy as well as a no-use-of-intelligent-thought policy about the topic, bye, click. What are my rights (as an American citizen) in this situation?
I've done some research on the topic and there seems to be a substantial number of others online, again with no reason to lie about it, who have been screwed by this exact thing. Zolpidem acts on a strict subset of the GABA
receptors that other benzodiazepines (e.g., valium) act on, but is more selective and is molecularly distinct enough that whoever decides these things decided that it was not to be called a benzodiazepine. It only very recently became generic in the USA which is I'd imagine the reason for the dearth of studies on its toxicological similarities with the benzodiazepines, and I'm sure the company that invented it did lots of work to find a molecule that would lie outside that category but act similarly on the brain. Naturally, trying to explain to an h.r. person why non-selective, categorical ms-gc scans have a significant false-positive rate in contrast to tests that look for a specific molecule, is a non-starter. I just want to know if the law gives me any rights at all here - after all it's not just the money and time but my reputation and entire career potentially at stake here, and I feel like I'm living in an insane Kafka novel (though perhaps a bit less terrifying). For instance do I have the right to know what I'm being accused of exactly, i.e., what is it that I've allegedly been taking if not Ambien?