TO SEARCH this database type in a word or phrase in the box in the upper left and any material containing the word or phrase will be displayed for your review.
Also, §22 of the New York State's General Construction Law, in pertinent part, provides that “Whenever words of the masculine or feminine gender appear in any law, rule or regulation, unless the sense of the sentence indicates otherwise, they shall be deemed to refer to both male or female persons.” NYPPL typically follows this protocol.
October 15, 2010
Determining if a demand to submit a grievance to arbitration is subject to the “two-prong test"
Matter of Board of Educ. of Deer Park Union Free School Dist. v Deer Park Teachers' Assn., 2010 NY Slip Op 07338, Decided on October 12, 2010, Appellate Division, Second Department
Regina Moraitis was appointed to the position of Computer Teacher and subsequently she was awarded tenure in that area. In January 2009 the petitioner, Deer Park Union Free School District abolished Moraitis's position and terminated her employment.
The Deer Park Teachers' Association filed a grievance on behalf of Regina Moraitis pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement between the Deer Park School Union Free District and the Teachers' Association and ultimately demanded that the grievance be submitted to arbitration. The demand described the nature of the grievance as one for contract interpretation, and asserted that Deer Park had violated the collective bargaining agreement by abolishing Moraitis's teaching position and not offering her an available position.
Deer Park, in the course of the litigation, said that its appointment of Moraitis to the position of Computer Teacher was a mistake it did not discover until years after the appointment and she should have been appointed as a Computer Technology Staff Developer and that the Developer position was not in the collective bargaining unit represented by the Association.
Deer Park commenced an Article 75 proceeding seeking to permanently stay arbitration on the ground that Moraitis did not hold a position within the bargaining unit represented by the Teachers' Association. The Supreme Court denied Deer Park’s petition and dismissed the proceeding. The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling.
The Appellate Division said that to determine whether a dispute between a public sector employer and employee is arbitrable the courts apply a “two-prong test” described by the Court of Appeals in Matter of Acting Supt. of Schools of Liverpool Cent. School Dist. (United Liverpool Faculty Assn.), 42 NY2d 509.
The first prong of the test: is any statutory, constitutional, or public policy prohibition against arbitrating the grievance? If there is no prohibition against arbitrating, the second prong of the test is triggered and the court must examine the parties' collective bargaining agreement and determine if they in fact agreed to arbitrate the particular dispute.
As Deer Park did not contend that arbitration of the subject matter of the dispute was prohibited by law or public policy, the only issue to be resolved is whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the particular dispute.
In such a situation, said the Appellate Division, if the arbitration clause is broad enough to encompass the subject matter of a dispute, "[t]he question of the scope of the substantive provisions of the contract is itself a matter of contract interpretation and application, and hence it must be deemed a matter for resolution by the arbitrator," citing Board of Educ. of Lakeland Cent. School Dist. of Shrub Oak v Barni, 49 NY2d 311.
As the Court of Appeals ruled in Matter of Board of Educ. of Watertown City School Dist. v Watertown Educ. Assn., 74 NY2d 912, a stay of arbitration is inappropriate where "the parties' agreement to arbitrate the dispute is clear and unequivocal but there is some ambiguity as to the coverage of the applicable substantive provision of the contract."
Pointing out that the “Recognition Clause” in the collective bargaining agreement “explicitly excludes certain employees,” the court noted that the list of excluded employees did not include either the position of Computer Technology Staff Developer or Computer Teacher.
As Article XIII, Section 1(a) of the collective bargaining agreement defines a grievance terminating in binding arbitration as "a claim based upon interpretation, meaning or application of any provision of this contract" with only claim excluded from Article XIII, Section 1(a) is a claim regarding the denial of tenure, the Appellate Division concluded that collective bargaining agreement clearly provides for arbitration of a dispute involving the proper interpretation of its provisions and, on its face, “the subject matter of the dispute as set forth in the [Association’s] demand for arbitration is arbitrable.”
The decision is posted on the Internet at:
Public Personnel Law E-books
The Discipline Book - A concise guide to disciplinary actions involving public employees in New York State set out in a 700 page e-book. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5215.html
A Reasonable Disciplinary Penalty Under the Circumstances - A 442-page e-book focusing on determining an appropriate disciplinary penalty to be imposed on an employee in the public service in instances where the employee has been found guilty of misconduct or incompetence. Now available in two formats - as a large, paperback print edition and as an e-book. For more information click on
The Layoff, Preferred List and Reinstatement Manual - A 645 page e-book reviewing the relevant laws, rules and regulations, and selected court and administrative decisions. For more information click on http://booklocker.com/books/5216.html
General Municipal Law §§207-a and 207-c - Disability Leave for fire, police and other public sector personnel - A 1098 page e-book focusing on administering General Municipal Law Sections 207-a/207-c and providing benefits thereunder. For more information click on
SELECTED REFERENCES and BLOGS
- A Handbook addressing disciplining public employees
- A Handbook focusing on imposing reasonable disciplinary penalties
- A Handbook focusing on layoff and reinstatement
- A Handbook on Disability Benefits for public employees
- A sample personnel handbook
- Blogging Civil Rights Law
- Blogging Constitutional Law
- Blogging Disability Law
- Blogging Education Law
- Blogging Human Rights Law
- Blogging Legal Information
- Blogging Military Law
- Blogging public libraries
- Challenging Adverse Personnel Decisions
- COVID-19 - New York State maps and data
- Delaware Employment Law Blog
- Gotham schools newsroom - A NYC school news blog
- New York City ERS blog - by John Murphy
- NY Municipalities - NYMUNIBLOG
- St. Lawrence County Civil Service Web Site
Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or additions or amendments to laws, rules and regulations may have modified or clarified or vacated or reversed or otherwise have had an impact on the decisions summarized here. Accordingly, these summaries should be Shepardized® or otherwise checked to make certain that the most recent information is being considered by the reader.
THE MATERIAL ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. AGAIN, REMEMBER THAT CHANGES IN LAWS, RULES, REGULATIONS AND NEW COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE DECISIONS MAY AFFECT THE ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THIS LAWBLOG.
THE MATERIAL PRESENTED IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND THE USE OF ANY MATERIAL POSTED ON THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP.
Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material in this blog is presented with the understanding that the publisher, editor, contributors or members of the staff are not providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to seek such advice from a competent professional.