Arbitration Award Appealed in Case Involving Positive Drug Test
Tags : Drug Screening
After an arbitrator ruled that a wholesale beverage company did not have just cause for terminating a union-affiliated driver who produced drug test results positive for cocaine, the wholesaler appealed the decision to federal court.
The original arbitration case involved International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 59 (Union), which represented drivers for Colonial Wholesale Beverage Co. (Colonial). In this case, the Union filed a grievance regarding the termination of a driver, arguing that it was without cause. Colonial countered, presenting evidence that the driver had been terminated based on its substance abuse policy as outlined in the parties' collective bargaining agreement employee handbook. It was the Union's position that the driver's positive drug test was the result of cocaine use that occurred at a party several days before the test and that he was neither impaired at work nor at the time the test was administered. Ultimately, the arbitrator found that Colonial lacked just cause to terminate the driver.
Colonial moved to vacate the award in federal court, arguing that the arbitrator exceeded authority by applying an incorrect standard. Colonial contended that the arbitrator should have focused his analysis broadly, relative to "what should be the appropriate outcome for (the driver) in light of his positive test result" as opposed to whether there was just cause for the driver's authority. While the grounds to vacate a labor arbitration award are narrow, courts will vacate awards where it is clear an arbitrator has exceeded his authority under the contract or substituted his judgment as to what is "industrial justice."
The outcome of this appeal is pending.
Employers are encouraged to review internal drug testing policies and take note of National Safety Council recommendations regarding drug testing in safety sensitive positions, as well as the United States Department of Transportation testing requirements for CDL holders.
Posted: January 4, 2021
All Rights Reserved © 2021 Truescreen, Inc.
This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.
What Our Clients Are Saying
The service you provide at Truescreen has been the best I have ever seen in comparison to other vendors I have worked with in the past! You guys rock!
I am very impressed with your company’s customer service, and the Truescreen portal seems to be an intuitive, user-friendly design.
Our team loves working with Truescreen and the expedient, thorough service and results we get from you.
I appreciate all your hard work ensuring that individuals are cleared through our processes. Truescreen makes my job so much easier and less stressful.