When the City of Boston conducted hair follicle drug testing on thousands of police officers, cadets and job applicants, the results demonstrated a 1 percent difference in negative results for Caucasian employees over African Americans. A group of African American police officers claimed that hair follicle drug testing had a disparate impact, arguing that it could not always distinguish between ingestion of drugs and contamination of the hair by environmental exposure. Furthermore, the officers’ experts testified in Jones v. City of Boston, Case No. 15-2015 (1st Cir. Dec. 28, 2016) that this could cause disparate impact because black hair is more likely to absorb and retain contaminants. The case was remanded three times and awaits resolution by a jury.

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