July 1, 2020

Some factors considered by courts in evaluating an arbitration award

The Appellate Division reviewed Supreme Court's denial of an Educator's petition seeking a court order vacating an arbitration award sustaining 13 specifications set out in disciplinary charges served on the Educator alleging incompetence and neglect of duty which resulted in Educator's termination from her employment as a New York City public school teacher by the New York City Board of Education [Board].

The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed Supreme Court's ruling and its granting the Board's cross motion to dismiss Educator's petition, explaining that the Hearing Officer's determinations concerning Educator's alleged teaching deficiencies during a four-year observational period:

a. were supported by adequate evidence, including testimony by school administrators and documentation;

b. were was rational, and not arbitrary and capricious; 

c. considered the Board's "significant remediation efforts;" and

d. the Hearing Officer found that those remediation efforts were adequate and supported by the evidence showing that Educator received feedback and suggestions for improvement through observation reports and one-on-one meetings, as well as assistance and support from her colleagues and outside professionals, and was provided with a teacher improvement plan.

Further, said the Appellate Division, in determining an appropriate penalty to be imposed, the Hearing Officer's considered Educator's "long-term pattern of inadequate performance." 

Thus, opined the court, the Hearing Officer's imposing a penalty terminating Educator from her position was, under the circumstances, "proportionate to the offenses" for which Educator was found guilty.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:



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