About MNA A supervisor ordered a worker to take a drug test because of his unsteady appearance. Just as with criminal cases in the courts, employers cannot rely entirely on circumstantial evidence or make judgments based on no facts or ambiguous facts. If an employer could fire workers for trivial or manufactured reasons, it could easily rid itself of militant officers, stewards, and rank and filers. Charges must be proven by substantial and credible evidence. 6. Construing the same conduct as two infractions, and issuing a penalty for each, is a form of double jeopardy. The second edition of Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Casesis a step-by-step guide filled with advice, practical tips, and winning techniques. JUST CAUSE One of the most misunderstood concepts and requirements of our Collective Bargaining agreement is the Just Cause mandate under Article 16. 5. It was time to rethink the seven tests. Unionizing The employer’s rule must not be arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory and must be related to the employer’s stated goals and objectives. Email justcauseforall[at]gmail[dot]com for more information. Hearsay (an accusation by a person who does not appear at a hearing) does not support a severe penalty. Just-cause protection marks a sharp dividing line between union and nonunion or “at-will” workers. A. Labor Action When a possibility exists that an employee can improve, the employer should apply the lowest punishment that is likely to achieve the desired result. If a union files a grievance over the termination of a union member, the employer typically has the burden to show “just cause” existed for the termination during a labor arbitration hearing. Lawful? Punishing an employee for failing to follow a rule or policy that the employee does not know about is clearly unfair. Were the rules, orders, and penalties applied evenhandedly and without discrimination? Some cases however may not warrant such a requirement because they are so egregious or commonly understood, such as; drinking on the job; patient abuse; theft; or insubordination. Fair Investigation. Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Cases [Schwartz, Robert M., Thorkelson, Nick] on Amazon.com. The employer must conduct a fair and timely investigation. It must respect the employee’s rights to due process and to union representation. ». A worker was suspended for a day for causing an accident. Discipline must be proportional to the gravity of the offense, taking account of any mitigating, extenuating, or aggravating circumstances. The employer must investigate before imposing any discipline. The principle of “just cause” is the keystone of the collective bargaining agreement. Appropriate Discipline/Penalty. For example, finding contraband near an employee's workstation is not just cause for discipline; the employer must find evidence connecting that worker to the contraband. Among its accepted requirements: employers must publicize rules, enforce them consistently, follow due process, treat employees alike, act on substantial and credible evidence, apply graduated penalties, and consider mitigating and extenuating circumstances. Nursing Resources », Labor news from labor's point of view. Q. On its face, it only appears to require a legitimate reason for taking action. It means that in union settings, the employer must have a reason to act in disciplining an employee and the reason must be just and fair. It means that in union settings, the employer must have a reason to act in disciplining an employee and the reason must be just and fair. The burden is on the employer to gather all of the facts, documents and witnesses. Where these concerns do not exist or are not justified, a gag order is an unfair labor practice. Union attorney Robert M. Schwartz's Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Cases is now available in a revised second edition. In the U.S., campaigns for “Just Cause for All” laws have been pursued at the state level. England, France, Ireland, Germany, Japan, and Italy are among those that require all employers to prove just or good cause. Years of advocacy, however, have helped to mold the standard into a formidable bulwark. ET, to spotlight unfair labor practices at The New Yorker and to demand just cause in our first collective-bargaining agreement. When management fails to take action against an infraction for several months or longer, employees are encouraged to believe that the policy or rule is no longer in effect. Whenever our HR manager conducts a disciplinary interview, she tells the employee and the union representative not to discuss the matter with others. Reasonable Rule or Order. All agreements at UFCW Locals 175 & 633 have this benefit and protection for Union members. Can the company raise the penalty? They must also identify potential penalties, especially if there is a possibility of suspension or discharge. Beginning with the labor struggles from America’s earliest days, the booklet includes the game-changing passage of The conclusions of guilt must be supported by the evidence. Was the employer's rule or order reasonably related to efficient and safe operations? Organizers often cite recommendations by the International Labor Organization (an agency of the United Nations) and the Uniform Law Commission, which promotes uniformity of law among the states. Did the investigation produce substantial evidence or proof of guilt? A typical just-cause provision reads, “No employee will be disciplined or discharged except for just cause.” Some agreements use “good cause,” “proper cause,” “reasonable cause,” or simply “cause.” Labor arbitrators usually say such terms are equivalent to just cause. But up to now many of its most important secrets have been restricted to arbitrators and labor professionals. Seven Tests of Just Cause. Yes. In such circumstances, imposing discipline is equivalent to applying a rule of which the employee is unaware. Was the employee adequately warned of the consequences of his/her conduct? 6. Mitigating circumstances must also be taken into account as well as the employee’s past record. Copyright © 2020, Massachusetts Nurses Association, 340 Turnpike Street, Canton, MA 02021 • 781.821.4625, Playing On Our Sentiments: The Union History of Hale Hospital. The degree of discipline must be related to the seriousness of the violation. Just cause is the standard that management must adhere to when disciplining or discharging an employee. By imposing rigorous qualifications for discipline, the just-cause standard protects everyone in the union. Q. Just as with criminal cases in the courts, employers cannot rely entirely on circumstantial evidence or make judgments based on no facts or ambiguous facts. Just cause is not provided by law and is only applied if it has been added to the collective bargaining agreement. A paramount obligation is to allow a worker a chance to tell his or her side of the story before the employer makes a decision to impose discipline. The results are laid out in my book Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Cases, now available in a newly updated second edition. It is widely accepted that the purpose of workplace penalties should be to correct misconduct, not to punish or humiliate. Just Cause: A Union Guide to Winning Discipline Cases, Viewpoint: A Smart Strategy to Defeat ‘Right to Work’ », Time to Update the Union Handbook on ‘Just Cause’ », Just Say ‘No’ to Drug Tests — Then Bargain », Massachusetts Teachers Sick Out for Six Feet, Here's How to Join Labor's Anti-Coup Network, Viewpoint: This Election Shows Labor's Ground Game Matters (Especially During a Pandemic). Increasing a penalty during the grievance procedure is double jeopardy. Just cause is the keystone of the union contract, protecting members from unwarranted and excessive discipline. Just Cause for All campaigns allow union and nonunion workers to fight together for fairness and job protection. If other employees who commit the same offense are treated differently there may be evidence of discrimination or what is referred to as “disparate treatment”. Misunderstood concepts and requirements of our collective bargaining agreement s past record enforced for a for... M. 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