Louisiana Town Now Allows Drinking at Work, Sort of
Sort of
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2016 2:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – One Louisiana city just made it legal for city employees—even those driving city vehicles or operating heavy machinery—to drink on the job. Kind of. The Shreveport Times reports Bossier City had a zero-tolerance policy for city workers on the job until mayor Lorenz Walker suddenly changed that policy Monday. Now employees tested for alcohol at work can have a BAC up to 0.04% without being immediately terminated—as they would have been under the old policy, according to KTAL. Walker says he changed the policy to protect city employees who had been drinking the night before or had used mouthwash or other products containing alcohol.

More specifically though, Walker changed the policy to protect one particular employee, who had an accident while operating heavy machinery and a 0.02% BAC. The employee, who showed no signs of impairment, said he had been drinking the night before. When Walker changed the policy Monday, he made it retroactive to April 1. Because of that, the employee hasn't been fired. Walker admitted to not wanting to lose "a good employee" at a city council meeting Tuesday. Members of the city council and MADD Louisiana have spoken out against the policy change, and council president Don Williams is introducing an ordinance that, if approved, would revert Bossier City to its old zero-tolerance policy. "This is a pattern of the mayor," Williams tells the Times. "There have been several instances of alcohol-related incidents, and the mayor uses his policy the way he wants to interpret it."