Sunday, March 10, 2013

Commissions rules on Boston police drug testing appeal

The Civil Service Commission issued a ruling on February 28, 2013 in a decade-old dispute regarding Boston Police Department drug testing. The case, In re Boston Police Department Drug Testing Appeals, was brought by ten Boston police officers who had been discharged after hair samples tested positive for illegal drugs. The consolidated hearing of these appeals was postponed while the officers  focused on a federal lawsuit regarding the same issue. The Commission finally held hearings on the appeals from October 21, 2010 to February 4, 2011.

In a sweeping 134-page opinion, the Commission affirmed the BPD's authority under basic merit principles of the civil service law to use hair samples to determine whether an officer had ingested illegal drugs. However, the Commission also ruled that a positive test result may not be conclusive, and depending on the evidence in a particular case, may or may not justify termination or other discipline under the just cause standard.

Under these principles, the Commission affirmed the termination of four of the officers in the consolidated appeals and allowed in part the appeals of the six other officers as the evidence did not establish just cause for their termination.

1 comment:

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