Arbitrator Rules that College Violated Contract Complaint Procedures

As part of his union duties, the Lane Community College Education Association (LCCEA) President sat on several College Councils, including the Diversity Council.  In 2013 and early 2014 the Diversity Council was working on a cultural diversity training program which proposed required training for all LCCEA Faculty.  The LCCEA president objected to the imposition of mandatory training without first bargaining over contract implications, and the discussion became heated.  Other procedural disputes ensued.  A complaint was filed against the LCCEA President by four students and faculty, alleging vague but far-reaching violations of College policies concerning discrimination and harassment.  The College issued a complaint, and then conducted a far-reaching investigation, by outside counsel, which Arbitrator William Reeves described as “to a large extent secret.”  The LCCEA filed two grievances over violations of the contract complaint procedures.  At the end of the investigation, no violations of College Policy were found, but the College rebuked the LCCEA President for his conduct in general, while refusing to reveal any details.

The Arbitrator found the College’s investigation violated both the contract and its own policies.  He found that the College violated disclosure requirements and investigation timelines, and found the College’s interpretation of the contract to be “nonsensical and inconsistent  with” the contract requirements.  He held the College failed to provide the LCCEA with specific evidence of the charges, and therefore the College “lost authority to sanction or reprimand the Grievant.”  He ordered the expungement from College records of all documents relating to the investigation except those needed to protect against future litigation, which shall not be accessed except by Court order.  He also directed the College to cease and desist from future violations of the complaint procedure.