Pubdate: Tue, 18 Nov 1999
Source: KOIN, Portland, OR
Copyright: © 1999 KOIN
See also: Airlines OK cockpit smoking
Stewardess fired for drinking water
Drug Test Mix-Up Results In Firing
Delta Fires Employee After Random 'Diluted' Test Comes
PORTLAND, Posted 9:05 a.m. PST November 18, 1999 -- A drug
test has turned the life of one former Delta employee upside down.
A negative test, that the company says was too diluted, cost Yasuko
Ishikawa her job as a flight attendant, KOIN 6 News reports.
Ishikawa was given no warning
before her random drug test
earlier this year, but says she
had nothing to worry about. Her
tests have come out negative for
drugs every time since starting
work for Delta seven years ago.
Results show the test urine was too watered down. The flight
attendant says she drank a lot of water during the nine-hour trip before her
test. But she also says Delta encourages attendants to drink a
lot of water on long flights. Now she can't understand why she won't be
given a second chance.
"They took my ID, my travel card -- everything... I asked what was going
on, in total shock," she tells KOIN.
English is Ishikawa 's second language, so it was difficult for her to fully
understand. Once she realized her urine was too diluted with water, she
quickly offered to retake the test.
"I can do anything. I can take the test now, give a hair sample, breath test
or anything because I have never seen an illegal drug in my life," she says.
Delta refused to talk on camera, but an executive says the
company has a no-tolerance policy for drugs. KOIN sent reporter/nurse Kris
Eisenhauer to test Ishikawa and eliminate any chance of altering the urine
sample. Eisenhauer knows there are a lot of factors to consider.
"It is possible for a person to drink enough fluid that they
would dilute their urine to the point that even a sophisticated test would not
detect drugs, but does that make a person a drug user?
"Maybe she just likes to drink a lot of water. Maybe they also
need to take into consideration what she eats (and) if she takes any
prescription medications, and if she takes any alternative medications,"
Jim Lanson of Public Service Laboratories analyzed the sample.
It came up negative for any drugs and was not diluted.
Meanwhile, Delta told Ishikawa to keep quiet about why she was
fired, but her friends say, "speak out."