Module 7 Assignment
In this module, you have learned about the issues involved in resolving disputes arising from the collective agreement. The purpose of this assignment is to test your comprehension of these concepts.
This assignment is worth 15% of your course grade.
Part A: Grievance Settlements (3 marks)
Incorporate your journal entries from the “Settlement of Grievances” activity in Topic 2 into a 250-word paragraph on the pros and cons of allowing or settling termination grievances and the best manner in which to do this.
Part B: Dispute Resolution (3 marks)
What type of dispute resolution process would be appropriate for the following types of disputes, and why?
• An employee is terminated for theft. The employee steadfastly denies taking the merchandise, and the employer has one witness who says that she saw the theft happen.
• An employee is denied “marriage leave” under the collective agreement because she requests it six months after the wedding in order to go on a honeymoon. There is no dispute on the facts, but the wording of the collective agreement could be interpreted in two different ways.
• An employee files a personal harassment grievance against her supervisor, alleging that there have been ten years of ongoing harassing comments and actions taken against her. The hearing would be long and involve a significant amount of evidence being called, including the evidence of every subordinate of this supervisor, which would put a great deal of pressure on the entire workforce.
Part C: Extra Damages (3 marks)
Provincial labour legislation sets out the powers of arbitrators and arbitration panels. For example, they have the ability to subpoena witnesses, call evidence, and order a remedy in a number of areas. An arbitrator can order that the party in breach of the collective agreement pay compensation to the aggrieved party in order to make them “whole.” For example, suppose that an employee has been unjustly terminated and has been off work for two months. The arbitrator can order that the employer pay the employee for the two months of back wages and benefits.
However, in BC, arbitrators do not have the ability to award punitive damages (over and above the amount of compensation needed to put the aggrieved person in the position as if the collective agreement had not been breached). In a 250-word paragraph, consider both the pros and cons of an arbitrator having the ability to award extra damages (i.e., damages to “teach the employer a lesson”). Do you think that an arbitrator should be able to award these types of damages?
Part D: Major Module Assignment (6 marks)
Read the following scenario and write a 250-word (approximately 1 page) response answering the following questions:
• Assume that the union files a grievance. Summarize the nature of the grievance and the remedy that the union would request in the grievance.
• Analyze both parties’ arguments to the grievance.
• If you were the arbitrator, which decision would you make and why?
• How would a ‘without prejudice’ settlement benefit or not benefit the parties?
Robert Findlay Scenario
Robert Findlay recently arrived in Vancouver from Winnipeg to a new company to take a position as maintenance engineer for XYZ Company. He has 15 years of experience in his line of work but he has had trouble adjusting to his new work environment. He feels that he is given the most labour-intensive and brainless work at the plant and that he is bypassed for the more skilled work that he can capably perform.
One day in October, Robert Findlay felt his frustrations at work growing. He had just come to work on a Monday morning after a weekend of nursing his wife and four children who had had the flu. He arrived at work twenty minutes late and when he tried to explain his situation to his supervisor, the supervisor listened for about one minute and then got distracted by other work. The supervisor ended up telling him that if he were late again, action would be started against him and that such action would eventually lead to his termination. His supervisor explained how he hated to take this approach with Robert as he was a good worker but that he had to consistently apply the rules regarding tardiness.
When Robert went to the dispatcher to pick up his tools for work all that was left were the worst tools in the shop. He moped over to the supervisor; the same person who would not listen to him about being late and he, as usual, gave him the dirtiest work of the day. As he was working on the equipment, the union representative came to him and told him that the company had not made enough profit this year for the employees to receive a Christmas bonus. Robert had been counting on that bonus to catch up on his expenses from moving.
Close to the end of Robert’s shift he sat down and started to complain to one of his coworkers. His co-worker suggested that if he were discontent he should talk to the union representative. So, he went to the union representative with his problems. The union representative (who also worked in the same department) said that there was nothing that could be done about his situation. Therefore, Robert took matters into his own hands and went to see the plant supervisor.
He walked into her office and said, “What kind of operation are you running here anyway? All I get are the dirtiest jobs and to top it off, after all this sweat and pain, I’m not going to get any Christmas bonus! I quit!” The supervisor stood there a bit stunned by this outburst but did not endeavour to convince Robert to stay at work as they would be entering a quieter production time now that the fall was over.
After a day of cooling off, Robert realized that he needed this work and that perhaps he could stick it out a while longer. He phoned the plant supervisor and stated that he had quit in haste and that he would like his position back. The plant supervisor stated that she considered that he had quit and that was the end of the matter. Robert phoned the local union who said that they would investigate the matter for him and let him know if he had a valid grievance.
Part E: Participation Summary (5 % of the final course grade)
• Prepare a 200-word report (not more than 1 page, double-spaced) that summarizes your contribution to each of the 3 monthly online discussions. Provide evidence of sample highlights and examples that demonstrate your depth of thinking.
• Prepare a 200-word report (not more than 1 page, double-spaced) that presents your opinion about the online discussions. Discuss how participating in the monthly online discussions make you more aware of your views and other peoples’ views about the course topics. How did you react to the perspectives presented in the headline articles? Did you agree or disagree with everything you read? Were you comfortable with other learners’ perspectives when they varied from your own? Do you think that contrasting ideas influenced you or your ideas and viewpoints? Explain your answer.
Topic 1: Prevention of Grievances
While there are many issues that arise between management and the union during the term of the collective agreement, strikes and lockouts are not permitted during the term of the agreement. So how are these disputes resolved? Often, these types of disagreements are resolved daily with little or no difficulty. There are union stewards in the workplace who hold a dual role: while performing their regular job with the employer, they also act as “first level” representatives of the union. In other words, when an employee has a concern about an issue in the workplace, he or she can approach the union steward, who may be able to resolve the concern (e.g., by explaining the provisions of the collective agreement) or approach a management representative to discuss the issue. Many potentially large disagreements can be resolved at this early point by this process.
You have already learned about the different labour relations management strategies that can be used. Employers that adopt a union acceptance strategy are much more likely to resolve disputes informally. In these workplaces, the union stewards feel comfortable with management and are encouraged to come forward to discuss issues of concern as soon as they arise. This open communication between the parties is invaluable in working together during the term of the collective agreement and preventing the issues of concern from turning into grievances.
A grievance is the formal airing of a dispute by either party, usually the union. It involves an official complaint, usually regarding management’s interpretation of the collective agreement or implementation of its management rights.
It is important to understand that, even though the grievance may relate to a specific employee’s circumstances (e.g., a grievance alleging that the employee was unjustly disciplined), it is the union that “owns” the grievance. In other words, the union can file the grievance and even settle the matter without the approval or assistance of the employee. Of course, if an employee feels that he or she has not been fairly represented by the union, an “unfair representation” complaint can be filed against the union.
The “work now, grieve later” principle is a given in Canadian labour relations. For example, if an employee feels that the employer is breaching the collective agreement by asking her to work overtime without extra pay, she must work the overtime and grieve the matter, unless to do so would be unsafe or unlawful. This principle exists so that the workplace can continue to run in an efficient manner, while also ensuring that an employee’s rights are protected. In this example, if the employer was wrong to require her to work overtime without extra pay, the employee will be reimbursed for the payment in order to put her in the same position as if the collective agreement had not been breached.
Generally, labour legislation stipulates that every collective agreement must contain an arbitration provision. This type of provision provides that any disagreement between the parties about the interpretation or alleged breach of the collective agreement—including discipline or termination issues—may be submitted to an impartial arbitrator for resolution. Typically, it is only possible to send a dispute to arbitration after the grievance procedure has been exhausted.
While the parties are free to negotiate any type of grievance procedure that they wish, typical grievance procedures include three steps. Step 1 is generally an oral complaint given to management, with the two parties trying to resolve the matter. If the problem cannot be solved at this point, the union can move the grievance along to Step 2, generally a written complaint to the employer, including the details of the complaint and the remedy requested. Management then is given a certain amount of time to investigate and respond in writing to the grievance, either allowing it or denying it. If the grievance is denied and the union wishes to pursue the matter, they can then submit the grievance to Step 3 of the process. At this stage, there is generally a meeting/hearing where both parties give their evidence and arguments, commonly in front of two or more representatives from each party. This is the last time that the grievance can be settled before being referred to arbitration.
Activity 1: Grievances
There are a few different types of grievances that can be filed in the workplace. Similarly, there are varying grievance procedures that are negotiated into collective agreements.
To better understand the types of grievances that may be filed and how parties choose to deal with them, read pages 373-385 in the text. As you are reading, consider whether you think the grievance procedure is a useful method of resolving disputes in the workplace. Why or why not?
Activity 2: Grievance Experience
In large workplace, it is not uncommon for hundreds of grievances to be filed every year. Of these grievances, a vast majority are settled during the grievance procedure, without the need for arbitration.
In your reflective journal, outline your experience with a grievance filed with an employer. It can be your grievance or a grievance that you have heard or read about in your workplace or in another workplace. What was the grievance about? Did the parties try to settle it early on in the grievance procedure? Was it resolved without resorting to arbitration? Do you think the matter was dealt with in the most effective manner? What were the effects beyond the grievance procedure (e.g., to the personal relationship between the parties involved)?
Case Study: Josh
Josh works for the City of Pleasantville as a unionized park worker. One afternoon, the human resources manager, Beth, notices him sitting in his city truck at the side of the road. She approaches him and catches a whiff of marijuana from his truck. She asks him if he is smoking marijuana, and he admits that he is. He explains that he is on a break, and that he is just about done his shift.
After an investigation, the employer decides to terminate Josh’s employment as a result of his actions. The president of the local union, Jeff, immediately approaches Beth to discuss the situation at Step 1 of the grievance procedure. She advises that doing drugs on city time is a very serious employment offence, and there is absolutely no possibility that the employer will reconsider its decision. Accordingly, the union files the grievance at Step 2 of the grievance procedure. The grievance alleges that the employer has terminated the employee without just cause because Josh suffers from a drug addiction problem. The remedy requested is that the employer re-instate Josh immediately, allow him to undergo drug counselling, and credit him with the seniority and wages that he has missed since he was terminated.
After the alleged violation of the collective agreement, the union will conduct its investigation. The shop steward and/or a representative of the union will interview witnesses and collect pictures and any evidence of the breach. The union will then determine if it feels that there has been a breach of the collective agreement. Sometimes, an employee may feel wronged, but the union may decide that the employer hasn’t breached the collective agreement, or they don’t feel that filing a grievance is appropriate at the time. As discussed above, the union owns the grievance and can determine whether the grievance should be filed and pursued.
If the union determines that there has been a breach that should be remedied by the employer, it is generally the shop steward or another local union representative who approaches management at Step 1 of the grievance procedure.
It is usually not until the grievance is filed at Step 2 of the grievance procedure (i.e., submission of the written grievance) that the employer undertakes a detailed investigation. In some workplaces, the written grievances are filed with the human resources or labour relations department, and staff is not necessarily aware of the circumstances of each grievance. In these situations, it is very important for management to interview witnesses and attempt to find out the circumstances behind the grievance to see if the grievance should be allowed. It is important for the employer to continue to treat the employee fairly during this process (assuming that it is not a termination grievance). If the employee continues to work during the grievance procedure, the employer cannot retaliate in any way against him or her.
In the example above, the written grievance is most likely filed with Beth, who has had intimate knowledge of the situation from the start and doesn’t need to conduct a detailed investigation into the facts. However, once the written grievance comes in, Beth may learn additional facts from the grievance form or from the union directly, necessitating a further investigation. In the above example, Beth was not aware that the union was alleging that Josh has a drug addiction problem until the grievance was actually filed. At this point, Beth will need to undertake a further investigation to ascertain the truth of this assertion. She may then consult with other management personnel to determine whether the decision to terminate was excessive given this new information.
Management may decide that no breach of the collective agreement has occurred and advise the union in writing that the grievance is denied at the second step of the grievance procedure. In some cases, however, management may determine that there has been a breach of the agreement and advise the union in writing that the grievance has been allowed. The employer would then give the remedy that the union asked for in the grievance. In other cases, the employer may feel strongly that they did not do anything wrong but may recognize that there is a risk that an outsider may view their conduct as a breach. At this point, the employer may want to engage in settlement discussions.
Settling a grievance is a common method by which the union and the employer resolve the grievance to both parties’ satisfaction. The union will withdraw the grievance and promise not to file the same grievance again in exchange for some type of remedy given by the employer. The nature of a settlement is that neither party admits that they are wrong, but a compromise of some type is agreed upon (e.g., the employee is given some monetary compensation, or the employer agrees to engage in certain conduct, such as posting a job or remedying a work schedule). It is important for the employer to remember that the union owns the grievance; therefore, any settlement discussions must be with the union. The employer cannot undertake settlement discussions directly with the employee.
The settlement of grievances is usually done on a “without prejudice” basis. In other words, neither party admits any wrongdoing. In addition, the fact that the parties have settled the matter cannot be used again in a subsequent dispute. For example, suppose that Josh is reinstated without prejudice basis as a settlement to the termination grievance. The next week, John, one of Josh’s co-workers, is caught doing drugs on his lunch break. If the employer terminates John, the union cannot argue that John cannot be terminated simply because of the fact that Josh was reinstated under similar circumstances. Instead, each new situation is decided and dealt with on its own merits.
Suppose a griever (John Brown) was fired for attending work while inebriated which according to the company policy is grounds for immediate termination based on the risk to himself and to his fellow employees.
Look at the following sample of a settlement to this grievance on a “without prejudice or precedent basis” by clicking on John Brown.
Activity 3: Settlement of Grievances
In many workplaces, termination grievances are resolved in the following manner:
1. The termination letter is replaced with a letter of resignation.
2. All evidence of the termination is wiped from the employee’s personnel file, and the file is sealed.
3. The employee receives some type of monetary compensation (e.g., $2000).
4. The employer provides an agreed-upon reference letter. (E.g., Josh worked at the City as a parks worker from 1999 to 2001. His performance reviews were always above average.) The employer will only use this information when asked for a reference from a potential new employer and is prohibited from mentioning the alleged misconduct to any potential new employer calling for a reference.
You will be expected to use your answers for this activity in the module assignment.
In your reflective journal, consider the pros and cons of agreeing to this type of a settlement, from both the employer’s and the union/employee’s view. You may want to consider the following questions:
• What is the $2000 for? Is it simply the employer making a business decision about the cost of having to defend the matter at arbitration? (I.e., if arbitration will cost $4000, why not just settle for $2000?) Is this “nuisance” money? Doesn’t paying this money actually open the door to more nuisances?
• Do you think that the alleged misconduct will truly be wiped from the employee’s file and never mentioned again? Is it fair that potential new employers are not privy to this information? What if the employee has been fired for suspected theft, this type of settlement is reached, and the employee then steals from the new employer? Should the new employer be able to sue the old employer for not disclosing the information?
• If the employee applies for new jobs and is directly asked whether he has been fired from any previous job, should he be able to say no, given the settlement reached? Is this ethical?
Activity 4: Case Study
At the beginning of this topic, you read about Josh’s grievance with the City of Pleasantville. Assume the following facts:
• The employer has confirmed that Josh is a drug abuser, and he admits this and wants to kick the habit.
• The union has made it very clear that they are dedicated to taking this grievance all the way to arbitration if need be.
• Josh has been terminated for one month at this point and has lost approximately $4500 in wages and benefits.
In your reflective journal, explore your feelings about allowing this grievance (i.e., reinstating Josh), denying it, or settling it. If you were the employer, what would you do? Would you reinstate Josh? Credit his seniority? Give him back pay? How much? Why?
Topic 3: Third Party Assistance in Resolving Grievances
There are two main types of arbitration: interest arbitration and grievance or rights arbitration. As you learned earlier, interest arbitration is usually used in collective bargaining as a last resort to resolve bargaining issues. Grievance arbitration or rights arbitration is used when the parties dispute the interpretation and application of a collective agreement after the grievance procedure has been exhausted.
An arbitrator is a neutral third party who listens to the evidence and arguments of both parties and then renders a binding decision. The parties are bound to abide by the decision of the arbitrator. Some agreements call for a single arbitrator, while others require that an arbitration panel hear the dispute. If a panel is used, each party commonly appoints one member of the panel, known as the “winger,” and then a third neutral arbitrator is also picked, either by the parties or by the “wingers.”
Usually, the parties agree to the appointment of a certain arbitrator. However, in some provinces, the labour legislation also sets out a process to have an arbitrator appointed where the parties are unable to agree. For example, in BC, either party may apply to the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau, and the bureau will appoint an arbitrator without any input from either party.
The arbitration process is adversarial: both sides present evidence and advocate their own positions, and the arbitrator chooses the “winner.” However, arbitrations are generally less formal than a traditional court setting. For example, hearings are commonly held in informal locations such as hotel meeting rooms. Also, the rules of evidence are more relaxed, and lawyers are not required to run arbitration. (Some parties still use lawyers, but most use in-house advocates or representatives.) The costs of the arbitration are generally borne by each party, unless the collective agreement states otherwise.
Arbitrators have the power to summon witnesses to testify and/or to bring relevant documents to the hearing. Prior to the arbitration, either party can ask for an order from the arbitrator (usually through a conference call) to obtain disclosure of needed information from the other side, where that party has been unwilling to give it.
The physical layout of the arbitration room is shown below. The arbitrator (or arbitration panel) sits in the middle, with each party on the opposite side of the U-shaped table. There is a small table on the open side of the square, where witnesses sit to give testimony.
The chronology of arbitration is as follows:
1 Opening comments of Party 1, the party bearing the onus in the case, followed by the opening comments of Party 2. Note: The union generally bears the onus to prove that there has been a violation of the collective agreement in all cases, except two notable exceptions: in discipline/discharge cases and in selection cases, the employer goes first and has the onus of proof.
2 Party 1 leads their witnesses through the evidence. Party 2 cross-examines each witness after their evidence.
3 Party 2 leads their witnesses through their evidence. Party 1 cross-examines each witness after their evidence
4 Arguments and closing comments by Party 1, then Party 2. Finally, Party 1 may make a short reply to anything new brought up by Party 2 in its closing arguments. Note: In closing arguments, the parties will apply their facts to the law and argue that the law is in their favour. Each party may point out other arbitration cases that came to the conclusion that they favour.
Once the arbitration hearing is concluded, the arbitrator (or panel) reviews the facts, evidence, arguments, and law and writes a binding decision. The decision of the arbitrator is reviewable but only in certain circumstances, which are set out by the provincial labour legislation. For example, in BC, Section 99 of the Labour Relations Code allows arbitrations to be appealed to the Labour Relations Board within fifteen days where a party has been denied a fair hearing or the award is inconsistent with the principles of the code. Generally, the board will not interfere with the interpretation of the collective agreement by an arbitrator where he or she has made a genuine effort and there was a reasoned analysis of the issues. For example, the board will not consider new argument or new evidence not presented at the choice of applicant, nor will it review findings of fact. However, the Board will interfere, for example, when there has not been a fair hearing, the real substance of the matter was not considered, the arbitrator considered facts not in evidence, or the arbitrator should have looked at outside extrinsic evidence. If the board decides to allow the appeal, it can substitute its own decision, send it back to the original arbitrator (often with directions), or give it to a new arbitrator.
In BC, if a party is still unhappy with the result, it can only require the board to reconsider its own decision if there is substantial proof that there is new evidence, the original decision was inconsistent with the principles of the Labour Relations Code, or the board acted contrary to the principles of procedural fairness.
Alternatives to Arbitration
While the arbitration process was invented as a means of having a less formal and more cost-effective way to solve disputes arising during the term of the collective agreement, there are critics of the system. Some people feel that the arbitration process has become overly legalistic, costly, and inefficient. It is not uncommon for arbitration hearings to last several days or a week. With arbitrators charging approximately $2000 per day, plus the cost of the room rental and any legal fees, it is not a cheap forum.
For these reasons, some parties use other methods of dispute resolution. For example, many collective agreements include the ability to send a dispute to mediation, a troubleshooter, a med-arb, or a summary form of arbitration. In mediation, an impartial mediator will assist the parties to come to a settlement on the issues, without the need to go through all of the evidence. The mediator may be appointed by the parties or through a process set out in the labour legislation. For example, in BC, either party may apply to the Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau to have a settlement officer appointed to assist the parties in resolving the issue prior to it going to formal arbitration.
In a troubleshooter, a neutral third party may attempt mediation but will also render a “recommended settlement” to the parties, which the parties may or may not choose to follow. In a med-arb, the third party acts as a mediator at first; however, if the parties are unable to resolve the matter, the third party becomes the arbitrator, hears the evidence, and then renders a binding decision. In some collective agreements, a summary form of arbitration is provided for. For example, there may be no evidence called, and the hearing just proceeds on the basis of oral or written arguments submitted to an arbitrator. This type of hearing is not good for issues involving witness credibility. However, it is good for issues where the facts are not in dispute.
In many jurisdictions, there is also an expedited arbitration process set out under the labour legislation. This may be used when one party feels that there is urgency in having the matter heard by an arbitrator. For example, in BC, Section 104 of the Labour Relations Code sets out the expedited arbitration process. Specifically, assuming that the grievance procedure has been exhausted and the matter has not yet been referred to arbitration under the collective agreement provisions (but the timeframe for referring to arbitration is not yet expired), either party can apply for expedited arbitration. The Collective Agreement Arbitration Bureau will appoint an arbitrator; a hearing must be held within twenty-eight days, and a decision rendered within twenty-one days after the conclusion of the hearing.
Activity 5: Arbitrations and Alternatives to Arbitrations
The traditional adversarial approach to arbitrations continues to be the most widely used method for solving disputes arising during the term of the collective agreement. While there are benefits to this approach, it also has its critics, and therefore a number of alternative dispute resolution methods have started to emerge.
Read the “Guide to the Labour Relations Code” regarding the third party grievance resolution procedures available in British Columbia at http://www.lrb.bc.ca/codeguide/chapter9.htm.
Read pages 388-390 in the text. As you read, consider the advantages and disadvantages of using grievance arbitration versus the alternative approaches. Do you feel that different types of disputes may be more amenable to different resolution processes? Why or why not?
Activity 6: Canada Labour Code Comparison
In this topic, we have been considering arbitration processes for employers covered by the provincial labour legislation. However, there are also many federal employers—such as airlines and banks—that are covered by the Canada Labour Code.
Access the Canada Labour Code at http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/l-2/index.html Browse the sections of the code that pertain to grievance arbitration. Compare and contrast these provisions with those under the provincial legislation of your choice. You can find the provincial labour legislation at the same link.
Labor Relations Assignment
Part A: Grievance Settlements
The settlement of grievances exposes the organizations and employees to various benefits and disadvantages. The settling of the grievances is a common approach in resolving the grievances to enhance satisfaction. One of the benefits of the settlement of grievances is that it occurs without prejudice (Colvin, & Gough, 2015). The approach ensures that both prejudices are applied in settlement of the disputes with the employees. For example, Josh was later reinstated without any prejudice indicating the settlement of the termination grievances.
The approach also gives both parties including the Union and the employee the opportunity to explain their actions and whether they had violated the employment terms. Each party will explain his demands and their willingness to compromise for a solution. For example, when the employer feels that they did not violate the employment contracts, they can engage in settlement discussion with the union and the aggrieved employees (Blake, Browne, & Sime, 2016). The disadvantages include the lack of a decisive person with authority to make a professional judgment on the issue. The settlement approach could lead to unfair solution due to the lack of specific action of settling the grievances.
The best way to settling the grievances is the conducting of open discussions with the union representatives and the aggrieved employees. The discussion will help in getting feedback and negotiating better terms and agreements, which is useful. The condition of negotiation with the aggrieved parties is critical in obtaining a sustainable solution (Nolan-Haley, 2013). It is because all parties can make their arguments and compromise into a single solution, which is acceptable. In litigation, it would leave some parties unsatisfied with the outcome and would affect their engagements in the future.
Part B: Dispute Resolution
In the case of employee termination because of theft, litigation would be the best dispute resolution process. It is because of it difficult to resolve the theft issues without a jury and judge to prove the claims of theft by the employee.
In the issue of the employee being denied marriage leave based on collective agreement, the use of negotiation would be appropriate. The employer should seek the union and the employees to negotiate on the terms and conditions for being allowed to go on marriage leave.
In the case of the employee filing sexual harassment claims, the best dispute resolution process is a settlement of the grievances of the employees. The reliance on the judicial process would be costly to the company and could hurt the reputation of the company and the accused employees. Thus, the settlement of the case is useful in dealing with the sexual harassment claims.
Part C: Extra Damages
An arbitrator’s ability to award damages to aggrieved employees is important. The aspect has some advantages and disadvantages. Some of the advantages include the parties have the opportunity to choose an arbitrator with expertise on the subject matter. The expertise in the emolument contracts would be useful in ensuring that the arbitrator is fair (Brubaker, et al., 2014). Another advantage is that the arbitrator will make the final decisions. The power of awarding damages is useful in making the specific decision. In the arbitration process, there is usually no jury.
On the other hand, the disadvantages include the lack of full understand of the information and evidence due to the limited time. The arbitrators usually lack comprehensive evidence and information to make good decisions. Another disadvantage of the arbitrators is that it makes awards without written evidence and documents. The lack of written documents and evidence can lead to the arbitrators making the wrong decisions. These advantages and disadvantages are useful in resolving the arbitration concerns by giving awards to the aggrieved persons.
I think the arbitrator should be allowed to award these types of damages to the employees. It is because if the arbitrator does not have any powers to award damages, the arbitration process would be irrelevant. An arbitrator will fulfill his mandate well when he or she has the influence to offer a significant direction about the disputes (Colvin, & Gough, 2015). It is important that the arbitration process continues with the opportunity for the aggrieved party to get remedies, more so the award damages. Thus, the arbitration process is useful in resolving the employee grievances with the employers.
Part D: Major Module Assignment
The union phoned by Robert would seek a grievance against poor working conditions because it is not easy to file a grievance against the bonuses. The company has the privilege to decide whether to offer bonuses to the employees depending on the profitability of the company in the year. The union would be requesting for the reinstatement of Robert and demand for him to be given better jobs and improved working conditions.
In the part of the employer, they would argue that Robert had verbally quit from the Job and they had agreed to his dismissal. The employer would have a valid argument that Robert was unwilling to work for them and he had reassigned willingly from the job. In contrast, the union will argue that Robert had valid complaints against the company such as the poor working conditions.
For example, Robert had complained about being given the dirtiest jobs in the company, which usually lead to him being sick and late for a job. Even after complaining, the supervisor did not take any actions to improve the working conditions (Colvin, 2013). The union can also argue that Robert had made verbal to quit under extraordinary situations when he was angry. The situation shows that Robert could not make rational decision to quit.
If I were an arbitrator, I would make the decision to compel the company in reinstating Robert and guaranteeing better working conditions rather than giving him the dirtiest considering his qualifications as an engineer. A without prejudice settlement would benefit both parties by ensuring that Robert and his employer have a good working relation in the future (Blake, et al., 2016). It helps to reduce potential conflicts and negative perceptions other persons.
Part E: Participation Summary
In the last three months, I was able to engage in the various online discussions about labor relations and resolution of disputes in the workplace. The aspects of grievance settlements are an important subject in dealing with settling termination grievances. The resolution of grievances is an important strategy useful in dealing with critical problems facing the employers. The dispute resolution subject involved different methods including litigation, arbitration, negotiation, and collective bargaining agreements. For example, I learned the various aspects of dispute resolution such as the settlement of grievances. In addition, the aspect of extra damages is useful in understanding the power of the arbitrators to remedy grievances raised by the employees.
The participation in the online discussions was useful in getting diverse views from the opinions raised by the other students on the topics. The perspectives on dispute resolution were presented in the headline articles through catchy themes and brief quotes useful in understanding the subject matters. I would not agree with all the things I read in the headline articles. I usually focused on getting the subject description and ensuring that it gives strong evidence and opinion on the issues. At times, I was comfortable with the other persons’ perspectives even when they were different from my personal views. The contrasting ideas helped in improving my ideas on the key labor issues in the organizations.
Blake, S., Browne, J., & Sime, S. (2016). A practical approach to alternative dispute resolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Brubaker, D., Noble, C., Fincher, R., Park, S. K. Y., & Press, S. (2014). Conflict resolution in the workplace: What will the future bring?. Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 31(4), 357-386.
Colvin, A. J. (2013). Participation versus procedures in non‐union dispute resolution. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 52(s1), 259-283.
Colvin, A. J., & Gough, M. D. (2015). Individual employment rights arbitration in the United States: Actors and outcomes. ILR Review, 68(5), 1019-1042.
Nolan-Haley, J. (2013). Alternative Dispute Resolution in a Nutshell, 4th. New York: West Academic.