It's rare for employers to allow workers to drink alcohol on the job. But in Florida, state employees not only imbibed while on the clock -- they got drunk and were paid to do it.
The incident, reported by the Sarasota Herald Tribune earlier this week, was part of a "study" that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement undertook last October. The state's chief investigative body doled out $330 for alcohol, mixers and some Doritos and then invited 15 employees to the agency's Tallahassee headquarters to test the accuracy of a possibly faulty breathalyzer.
As a video camera rolled, agency staff, including Capitol Police officers, drank up and then blew into the device, known as the Intoxilyzer 8000. The aim behind the study, which cost $8,000 and was pulled together in three days, was to clear the machine's reputation.
An earlier investigation revealed that many flawed machines were in use through the state, and that alcohol-test results from some 100 cases in Sarasota and Manatee counties were thrown out as a result of the probe.
After the employees blew into the device, their blood was drawn and sent to a lab for tests.
Results from the study were presented to a court in December in an effort on the part of the agency to keep the devices in use in the two counties, the newspaper reported.
But the department's efforts may have been in vain. Judges deciding the fate of the Intoxilyzer 8000 appeared skeptical of considering the study.
The Herald Tribune reported in October that flawed machines were used across Florida for years, sometimes providing impossible results about how much breath was blown into them.
The judges' ruling on the fate of the machines is expected any day.
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