Court Rules Against Boston Police In Hair Drug Test Case

Employment, Police Accountability
Court Rules Against Boston Police In Challenge To Hair Drug Test And Civil Rights Groups Call For City To Immediately Halt All Use Of Test
Massachusetts’s highest court has made clear once again that the controversial “Hair Test” used by the Boston Police Department (BPD) to test for employee drug use is scientifically unreliable. The recent opinion reviews in detail the vast and growing scientific literature that amply demonstrates that the “Hair Test” cannot reliably distinguish between internal ingestion and external contamination, and holds that it is therefore unreasonable for BPD to use the test as the sole basis to reject applicants.
In this case, Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and pro bono counsel from WilmerHale filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief on behalf of our long-time community partner, the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers (MAMLEO), highlighting the unreliability of the Hair Test.  
LCR and WilmerHale also represent MAMLEO and numerous individual officers in a related federal case challenging the “Hair Test” as discriminatory against Black officers. 
BPD’s continued use of this unreliable and discriminatory test is costing taxpayers millions of dollars. It is also harming public safety by depriving our communities of highly qualified officers — particularly Black officers. At a time when the City of Boston claims to want to diversify its police force, it is unconscionable for BPD to continue to use this unreliable test that disproportionately harms people of color.
In the wake of today’s ruling, LCR once again calls on BPD to immediately discontinue use of this highly flawed test.
The decision is available here, and news coverage is available in the Boston Globe, WBUR, WGBH, and Associated Press.