Philip Greenspun details the amusingly kafkaesque inflexibility in drug testing regulations.
Finally, the FAA inspector looked at my random drug testing program to make sure that everything was in place. Iâ€™m subject to the same drug testing requirements as United Airlines. I am the drug testing coordinator for our company, so I am responsible for scheduling drug tests and surprising employees when it is their turn to be tested. As it happens, Iâ€™m also the only â€œsafety-sensitive employeeâ€ subject to drug testing, so basically Iâ€™m responsible for periodically surprising myself with a random drug test. As a supervisor, I need to take training so that I can recognize when an employee is on drugs. But Iâ€™m also the only employee, so really this is training so that I can figure out if I myself am on drugs. As an employee, I need to take a second training course so that I learn about all of the ways that my employer might surprise me with a random drug test and find out about drug use. But Iâ€™m also the employer so really Iâ€™m learning about how I might trap myself.
Ah, but that was just the beginning.
Five minutes after the FAA inspector left, I received a phone call. â€œIâ€™m from the FAA and weâ€™d like to schedule an audit of your drug testing program.â€ I remarked that a fully qualified FAA inspector was barely out of the driveway and had just gone through every document that I had on the subject. â€œHe was from the FSDO (Flight Standards District Office)? Thatâ€™s a completely different department. Weâ€™re going to send two inspectors up from Atlanta next month.â€ Why two? â€œWe always send them in pairs.â€
Terry Gilliam couldn’t have written it better.