Synopsis By: Lurie - Proceeding Author: Harris Jacobs, Christine D. Ver Ploeg, Alexander E. Wilson III

Three of Arbitrator Carroll Daugherty’s seven tests of just cause pertain to predisciplinary due process, also referred to as investigatory due process. The three are (1) an effort to discover whether the employee committed the infraction (2) a fair and objective investigation by the employer, and (3) substantial proof of guilt by the official imposing discipline, all to have been undertaken or to have existed prior to issuing discipline. The question addressed by the authors is whether the failure to satisfy the three, where the CBA does not require it, should be dispositve regardless of “guilt.” Arbitrator Ver Ploeg advocates a different test: Whether the grievants were given a meaningful opportunity to tell their side of the story, timeliness, notice and union representation. Attorney Wilson advocates the “harmless error” standard. Attorney Jacobs argues for the strict application of due process rights, asserting that it is impossible to know what the disciplinary outcome would have been had such rights been afforded.