Alcohol Breath Tests at Work

An alcoholic drink with your business lunch could get you fired if Maryland Bill 299 becomes law. It would permit your employer to force you to take a breathalyzer test at any time during the work day. Under the bill, employees would be in violation if their breath test estimated a blood alcohol level or concentration (BAC) of .02; the legal limit for driving is .08.

But some legislators are concerned about possible misuse of the legislation. Ann Doory says that a person who has had a sip of alcohol at a retirement party could suffer retaliation.

There are also other potential problems with the bill: the impact of mouthwash, the fact that everyone produces alcohol within their bodies 24/7 (endogenous ethanol production), as well as the documented unreliability of alcohol breath tests.


  • Collins, David. Bill would penalize workday drinking: Initiative sets low threshold for blood alcohol content. WBAL -TV 11 (Baltimore, MD), February 9, 2006.

Filed Under: Legal