Sunday, December 1, 2013

Several recent decisions

Termination of Child Abuse hotline worker overturned.

Arbitrator Kathy Eisenmenger has overturned the termination of a child services hotline worker. The grievant had been terminated for allegedly failing to properly gather sufficient information concerning a report of child abuse. Based on the information received, grievant categorized the call as a Priority 2, calling for a response within 24 hours, rather than a category one, calling for an immediate response. Less than 24 hours later, the child who was the subject of the complaint was in a coma and subsequently died. The child's mother and stepfather now face child abuse and murder charges. Rejecting the employer's claims against grievant, Arbitrator Eisenmenger found no proof that grievant had violated the employer's policies on categorizing reports of abuse, and further found no causal connection between the grievant's actions and the child's death. In a supplemental award the Arbitrator also rejected the employer's claim that reinstatement of grievant would violated public policy.Noting that she had found no evidence of negligence on the part of grievant, she found application of the public policy defense had "no application" to this case. The Las Vegas Review- Journal reports on the award here, and links to Arbitrator Eisenmenger's award here.

No Boys Market Injunction to stop increased health care costs

The District Court in New Jersey has denied a request for an  injunction pending arbitration sought by 1199 SEIU Healthcare Workers East. The dispute involved a successorship claim that was scheduled for arbitration. The court concluded that the absence of evidence of irreparable harm warranted denial of the request. The Court noted "Although the Union raised a significant issue regarding the anticipated increase in the cost of employees' health benefits, it failed to substantiate its claim that the increased cost would force some employees to forgo health coverage altogether. ...  The Union's failure to demonstrate that any of its members would actually lose their benefits renders its claim of irreparable harm speculative." The court's decision can be found here.

Court rejects efforts to compel arbitration of claimed breach of oral agreement

The  District Court for the Central District of California has dismissed a complaint filed  by Hospital of Barstow seeking specific performance of an alleged oral agreement that disputes regarding the negotiation of a cba would be resolved by private arbitration rather than by the NLRB. The Hospital alleged that it had entered into an oral agreement with the California Nurses Association governing the Union's organizing efforts and the negotiation of an initial cba. The Hospital also alleged that the parties had engaged in private arbitration of disputes pursuant to the agreement. The Union., however, subsequently broke off negotiations and filed an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB claiming bad faith bargaining. The Hospital maintained that this was in violation of its agreement. Rejecting this position the Court concluded that, assuming that it otherwise had jurisdiction to compel arbitration based on an oral agreement, the Hospital had failed to allege a factual basis for its claim. It further determined that any claim of waiver of the right to file charges with the NLRB was unenforceable. The Court's decision can be found here.

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