WASHINGTON — A federal judge refused on Friday to delay random drug testing of air traffic controllers, safety inspectors and other key Transportation Department employees that is set to begin next week.
U.S. District Judge Stanley Harris rejected the American Federation of Government Employees' application for a temporary restraining order that would have delayed the start Tuesday of the random testing program for more than 29,000 department employees in "sensitive and critical" positions.
The judge's ruling, which cannot be appealed, clears the way for the department to begin the random drug testing program of civilian workers under President Reagan's 1986 executive order for a "drug-free workplace."
Harris found that the union representing department employees failed to demonstrate it was likely to succeed in its legal challenge against random testing or that the program's start would irreparably harm affected workers.
The union has filed an application for a preliminary injunction, which is pending before another federal judge. It claims the random testing violates employees' constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination.