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New Jersey-Union Member-Wrongful Termination

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  • New Jersey-Union Member-Wrongful Termination

    On 11/14/06 i asked for a vacation day that friday on 11/17/06.I also let the new operation manager overhear me telling the bookkeeper that i have a job interview.The owner of the company left a message on my company cell phone
    on 11/17/06,stating i should take the job i'm applying for.I go into work at
    5:30am 11/20/06 to find a note on the door stating the alarm code has been
    changed and to wait till the new operation manager gets in.So while waiting i
    read in my local paper that the company is looking to fill my position.I went home and called my BA at 8:00am and told him what was going on.I returned to work at 8:30am,walked in to the owner office and gave him my keys,credit card,
    company cell phone and went home.The BA called the owner of the company
    and asked if he would have a meeting with me.He said he could fit me in on 11/22/06 at 300pm.(its no secret i don't like the new operation manager because he makes up lies to get someone fired if he dosent like you)
    At the meeting with the owner & operation manager it goes badly with me being
    accused of steal time and sitting around playing on the internet.I keep a log
    of where i'm at and what i'm doing at any givin time of the day.
    On 11/22/06 i filed a grievance with the union'for me to be reinstated with back pay and benefits).(it states in my collective bargaining agreement that
    i can not be fired with out one warning or be locked out of the business.
    I know i can be rehired with backpay .But if i go back how can i protect my self from this ever happening again?

  • #2
    I also let the new operation manager overhear me telling the bookkeeper that i have a job interview. That was pretty dumb. What did you think he was going to do? Drop to his knees and beg you to stay?

    On 11/22/06 i filed a grievance with the union'for me to be reinstated with back pay and benefits).(it states in my collective bargaining agreement that
    i can not be fired with out one warning or be locked out of the business.
    I know i can be rehired with backpay .But if i go back how can i protect my self from this ever happening again?
    You can't.

    You may grieve your termination with your union, as you are doing, but this was not a wrongful (illegal) termination. Your sole recourse is through the grievance process outlined in your CBA.

    Comment


    • #3
      Seven Questions of Just Cause

      The employer has the legal right to terminate your employment. You have a legal right to grieve that action.

      However, because you are a union member covered by a collective bargaining agreement, I assume that you cannot be fired without "just cause."

      Just Cause is explained below.

      The “Just Cause” Standard

      In most circumstances, employees covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement cannot be disciplined, except for “just cause” (a.k.a., “proper cause” or “cause”). A common clause included in most Collective Bargaining Agreements is, “No employee shall be disciplined or discharged except for just cause.”

      The Seven Questions Test of Just Cause:

      • Adequate Warning: Was the employee made aware of the consequences of his/her actions? The employer should have provided oral or written communication of the rules and penalties to the employee.

      • Rule of Reason: Was the employer’s policy reasonable? An employee should obey an unreasonable work rule and grieve it after the fact, unless the directive clearly puts the employee in an unsafe situation.

      • Investigation: Prior to imposing discipline, did management make an effort to discover whether the employee did in fact violate a policy? The employer’s investigation should include a justification for the alleged rule violation.

      • Fair and Objective: Was the employer’s investigation fair and objective? Management should approach the investigation in a professional manner and with an open mind.

      • Evidence: Did the investigation produce evidence or proof to substantiate that the employee was guilty as charged? Although not required to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt,” management should have solid evidence to support the decision to discipline.

      • Equal Treatment: Has management applied this rule in an even-handed and non-discriminatory manner to all employees? A finding of discrimination may warrant negating or modifying the discipline imposed.

      • Reasonable Penalty: Was the degree of discipline related to the seriousness of the employee’s actions and the employee’s employment record? An employee’s good or bad employment record should be taken into account.

      If the answer to any of the seven questions is no, the employee may have been disciplined without “just cause.” If the employee has been disciplined without “just cause” the union is in a position to argue that the employee should not have been disciplined.

      The Seven Question Test originated with Arbitrator Carroll Daugherty’s award 42 LA 555 Grief Bros. Subsequently, Arbitrator Daugherty repeated the Seven Question Test in awards 46 LA 359 Enterprise Wire Co. and 58 LA 427 Whirlpool Corp. Since that time arbitrators have commonly used the Seven Question Test when deciding discipline cases.
      In Solidarity,

      Wayne

      www.waynemarshall.org

      Comment


      • #4
        I have seen and been party to many CBAs ... in no individual CBA have I encountered anything nearing a definition for and/or an attemp to define "just cause."

        Comment

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