The paper comprises of a summary of the case involving Ms. Swenson’s (Ann Marie Swenson) appeal on the school’s committee decision to have her suspended for twenty (20) days. Acting as an arbitrator, this report is written to provide extensive critical review of the case and offers a standpoint on the issue at hand and support given as the basis for the decision. This is provided as a viable approach to find an amicable out of court decision that asserts a collective bargaining agreement comfortable for all parties (Gough & Colvin, 2020). The integral feature of the case and utilization of the arbitrator’s skills and insight is the capacity to maintain neutrality and confidentiality on the matter. Therefore, offers a conclusive decision on the course of action that should be taken to resolve the problem.
Key Evidence Presented
The decision of the arbitrator is based on critical review of the case and the evidence that is provided as a basis for any course of action. The primary issue in which the arbitrator is tasked to deal with is to assert where the school committee has a just cause to suspend Ann Marie Swenson for twenty (20) days, and if not establish a remedy that should be pursued.
Presentation of Evidence
As marked in the case transcripts, District 1 (marked as District Exhibit 1, D1) comprises of the letter written by Monica Harper to Shirley Lepri, the dean of academics detailing her issue with Ms. Swenson’s disrespect and mistrust she had accorded to her. Also, it set a bad path for her as a new teacher as compared to Ms. Swenson who was a veteran in Attleboro school. District 2 (marked as District Exhibit 2, D2) written by the school principal Mark Hollis dated November 16th presenting the accounts of November 5th when he held a meeting with Ms. Swenson in present of Dave Stock the Union President and Ms. Lepri. District 3 (D3) comprises of a letter received back from Ms. Swenson presenting her accounts on the event of October 29th, 2009. District 4 (D4) a notification written to Ms. Swenson informing her of a meeting scheduled with the assistant superintendent. District 5 (D5) admission seeks to correct the wrong date written down on D4 from Monday, March 16th to the correct date of Monday, March 15th. The letter was written to inform Ms. Swenson of the intent to impose a 20-day suspension in regard to the situation. District 6 (D6) is a letter given to Ms. Harper to account for the progress of the case.
District 7 (D7) comprise of the union’s president requested a meeting requiring a verification of whether it was intended as a pre-disciplinary meeting. This was the March 15th meeting with Ms. Swenson. On the meeting of March 15th, the superintendent offered an opportunity in which some kind of agreement regarding the intent to impose a 20-day suspension would be reviewed and appealed. D7 requested for a meeting on April 8th as a redo of the process. District 8 (D8) entails a redacted sentence that dealt with the settlement discussion. District 9 (D9) consist of Ms. Swenson’s response appealing the 20-day suspension. District 10 (D10) entails a letter to Ms. Swenson scheduling a hearing on May 5th.
A Join Exhibit 5 was issued on April 12th entailing a letter of suspension. The May 5th meeting gave Ms. Swenson an opportunity to retain her right to an attorney prompting the superintendent to seek any further clarifications and directives from Ms. Mahoney (Ms. Swenson’s attorney). District 11 (D11) comprised of a redacted letter that removed the last paragraphs of any settlement-related information. This set the precedent where the case was in the hands of the attorneys with Ms. Mahoney and Mr. north taking over.
District 12 (D12) comprises of a letter used to assert and implementation of the intention to go on with the 20-day suspension. This letter was indicated that the suspension was expected to start from September 13th and end on October 12th. District 13 (D13) contained a letter from Principal Hollis to Ms. Swenson asserting that the school was bound to impose a five-day suspension for insubordination. District 14 (D14) consisted of a letter from the principal to Ms. Swenson indicating that she was being suspended for three days for insubordination.
Swenson 1 comprised of a letter indicating that Ms. Swenson was bound to provide no further information issued to Superintendent Norton. As well, Swenson 1 requested for information that was presented against her dated May 5, 2010. Swenson 2 entail the resume detailing employment history, education background, and personal information illustrating Ms. Swenson’s qualification as a Librarian. Swenson 4 provided the general library log that students record every day.
Review of the Case and Decision
In review of the evidence provided in the case, it fails to meet the minimum threshold for suspension of Ms. Swenson. The accounts presented in the case prompting the suspension gain additional weight based on prior misconducts she had received from the school principal. The superintendent’s decision to execute a 20-day suspension was informed by the notion that Ms. Swenson’s action were of gross misconduct, setting a bad model to students, and creating an environment of betrayal and mistrust among colleagues. The prior five days and three day suspensions on Ms. Swenson for insubordination established a patter in which would outline Ms. Swenson as a rule breaker and one who exhibits gross misconduct at the workplace. This in disregard to Ms. Swenson’s personal account and the insights of other potential witnesses.
The overreliance on what Ms. Harper presented as the basis for the opening of the case presents a lack of proper mechanisms established to protect the staff. This presents a substantive issue that the Human Resources department should address to protect all employees. There is need for due process and review of every members accounts on the events of a matter that may arise at the school premise. The way Ms. Harper pursued the principal negating her immediate supervisor provides a basis for personal grounds to get back on Ms. Swenson (Colvin & Gough, 2015). Also, the due process appeared to be profoundly biased following the use of previous information from the principal’s file of Ms. Swenson misdeeds and consequences that followed at the time. Ms. Swenson was judged guilty of the action that was in fact based on hearsay without proper mechanism to attest to what was the underlying issue subjecting her to disciplinary action. That is Ms. Swenson say “I’ll lie.”
Furthermore, Ms. Swenson’s personal accounts illustrate that she had responded to Ms. Harper’s query with utmost regard to satisfy her worries. Ms. Swenson had seen Karen in the library and she was in the company of Donna Thomas. While it should have been more eloquent to have had the student log in when she entered the library, it is no requirement that she must log in when she came in during a period time. Ms. Swenson’s response attests to her confirmation of having seen Karen in the library all the time. Therefore, provides the basis in which she had reverted to Ms. Harper. Ms. Harper’s purported argument that Ms. Swenson said she would lie is not authentic as she was eavesdropping, no account of the number of persons present in the library to have said the words, or no evidence to prove that it was in deed Ms. Swenson who said the words positing extensive ramifications (Sternlight, 2019). Thus, Ms. Swenson should be let free and the creation of reconciliation panel between her and Ms. Harper be set to deter potential adverse effects on their relationship that may arise as a result of the case.
Colvin, A. J., & Gough, M. D. (2015). Individual employment rights arbitration in the United States: Actors and outcomes. ILR Review, 68(5), 1019-1042.
Gough, M. D., & Colvin, A. J. (2020). Decision-Maker and Context Effects in Employment Arbitration. ILR Review, 73(2), 479-497.
Sternlight, J. R. (2019). Mandatory Arbitration Stymies Progress towards Justice in Employment Law: Where to:# MeToo. Harv. CR-CLL Rev., 54, 155.