Transportation Brief: First Circuit Deals Blow to Hair-Testing
Mar 21, 2017
On December 28, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dealt a setback to the Boston Police Department’s hair-testing program used to assess an individual’s prior use of banned drugs. Jones v. City of Boston, No. 15-2015 (1st Cir. 2016). The decision may impact the potential use of hair testing programs in the trucking industry in lieu of currently prescribed pre-employment urine-testing.
This is the second time the case has been before the First Circuit. In its earlier opinion, the court held that hair testing had a statistically significant disparate impact on African-American police officers and remanded to the district court to determine whether 1) hair testing was job-related and consistent with business necessity and 2) whether the employer refused to adopt reasonable alternative means that had less of a disparate impact. In this decision, the court held that a jury could reasonably find that hair testing was job-related and consistent with business necessity (thus affirming the district court on that point), but the court also concluded that a jury could find the police department refused to extend an alternative with less disparate impact as required to avoid liability for discrimination. The opinion focused on the alternative approach of administering a urinalysis for officers that tested positive with the hair test.
Some carriers are utilizing hair testing in addition to DOT-mandated urine testing because hair testing has a longer detection window and screens out more users. However, carriers taking employment actions based on hair testing results alone should reconsider in light of the First Circuit decision.
Transportation Brief: Warehouse Claims – How to Respond, Defend, Settle
by Eric J. Meyers , Kevin M. PhillipsUpon receiving a claim from a customer, a warehouse should first notify its insurer. It is imperative to satisfy the policy’s timely notice requirement should coverage be available. The warehouse should assess the claim, including the type of damages sought, and confirm the depositor has provided proper notice of claim by adequately identifying the goods or shipments involved.
Transportation Brief: Graves Amendment Shields Lessor From Liability
by Michael B. LangfordOwners of intermodal containers and chassis recently received protection from the Graves Amendment (49 U.S.C. § 30106) in a New York appellate case. In Eisenberg v. Cope Bestway Exp., Inc., the court held that the intermodal chassis lessor was not liable for the Plaintiff’s injuries.
Transportation Brief: Ohio Commercial Activity Tax Audits on the Rise
by Andrew K. Light , Ronald J. MorelockOperating interstate motor vehicles in and through a jurisdiction where the carrier does not maintain an office, terminal or resident employee may create a state tax filing obligation. There is an increase in Ohio Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) audit activity involving interstate motor carriers with some presence in the state.
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