U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

January 2017 Archives

Court Upholds Hospital's Non-Union Hiring

Reversing a decision by the National Labor Relations Board, a federal appeals court has upheld a hospital group's preference for hiring non-union workers at its non-union hospitals.

The First Circuit Court of Appeal said the NLRB did not have substantial evidence for its finding that the hospital group unfairly preferred non-union workers. The court acknowledged that the hospital group also had a policy preferring union workers at its unionized hospital.

The court said the employer's desire to treat its union and nonunion employees and "even-handed" way negated an inference that the policy was motivated by union animus.

New Hampshire law allows, but doesn't require, abortion clinics to create a buffer zone around their facilities, of up to 25 feet. The public, with some exceptions, is excluded from that zone.

Abortion opponents sued to have the law overturned under the Supreme Court's McCullen v. Coakley decision, issued just a few days after the buffer zone law was enacted. Except there's a fatal flaw to that lawsuit, the First Circuit ruled last Wednesday: the law has never been activated or enforced.

Drug-Testing Discrimination Case Revived by First Circuit

Reviving a lawsuit by black police officers who claimed hair testing for drugs discriminated against them, a federal appeals court has ruled that hair testing "plus urinalysis" could be a reliable alternative to hair testing alone.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and remanded a trial court decision against ten Boston Police Department employees who claimed that the hair test alone was discriminatory. According to the court, hair tests showed that 99 percent of white workers did not use illegal drugs and 98 percent of black employees did not use them.

The court said that amounted to a disparate impact on the black officers, and that a hair test plus urinalysis could have been offered to them instead. The trial court must reconvene for a jury to decide whether "hair testing plus urinalysis" would be more fair to the officers.

"The record contains sufficient evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could conclude that hair testing plus a follow-up series of random urinalysis tests for those few officers who tested positive on the hair test would have been as accurate as the hair test alone at detecting the nonpresence of cocaine metabolites while simultaneously yielding a smaller share of false positives in a manner that would have reduced the disparate impact of the hair test," the court said.