Which arguments should be given more weight: those based on company policy, the employee handbook, and the labor agreement or mitigating factors given by the grievant and his witnesses? Explain.
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Speaking about the case of Jesse Stansky who was terminated for hitting one of his colleagues during their argument, it is necessary to take into consideration a wide range of arguments that were mentioned by both parties to the given conflict. In general, when it comes to examination, it is important to understand that arguments based on different documents that parties to a conflict come up with cannot be regarded as equally relevant to the case. To be more precise, in the case of Jesse Stansky, the following arguments are mentioned: Stansky’s inability to act in accordance with company policy, his behavior contradicting to the points from employee handbook and labor agreement, and alleviating circumstances mentioned by Jesse and those who came to support him.
As it happens in some cases, arbitrators tend to take into consideration their own attitude towards the participants during making a decision. In order to do that, they evaluate verity of the evidence presented by witnesses based on their own criteria, and ask additional questions if they are not sure about the right way to interpret certain statements from documents. Nevertheless, official documents and rules presented by one of the parties have to be given more weight to due to the fact that they cannot be changed unknown to employees (Snell et al., 2017). In fact, I suppose labor agreement to be the most important for the case as the rules of conduct are formulated in it. What is more, arguments of Jesse’s witnesses do not seem to be deep enough as they are partially confuted by the statement on his previous offences made by the employer. Therefore, I suppose that arguments related to points listed in labor agreement should be given more weight during arbitration hearing.
How might unprofessional conduct by defined? Explain.
Another important question that needs to be considered during the discussion of the given case is related to interpretation of one of the statements made by employer who terminated employment contract with Jesse Stansky. Adducing an argument in order to justify the decision made after the conflict between Jesse and his colleague, the employer uses one of the provisions from the labor agreement where unprofessional conduct of an employee is mentioned as one of the reasons for disciplinary action. There is no doubt that certain elusive concepts may be used by parties to the conflict or even arbitrators themselves in order to achieve their personal goals related to the case. Therefore, it is necessary to understand which actions and offences may be regarded as unprofessional conduct. In general, using the discussed notion, people mean the range of actions that are able to make a person less valuable as a professional.
These actions may involve different things; for instance, a person is demonstrating unprofessional conduct if it turns out that she or he has certain knowledge gap that significantly decreases work performance and may even pose a threat to a goodwill of a company. Therefore, unprofessional conduct is often associated with a lack of professional competence – according to that, it is fair to state that certain employee is demonstrating such conduct if he or she is incapable of fulfilling the range of essential duties at work. To some extent, this meaning of unprofessional conduct is demonstrated in the discussed case because it is known that the grievant has made quite serious mistakes related to his duties earlier. Apart from that, speaking about the meaning of this term, it is necessary to pay attention to ethical behavior of a person. In case if an employee tends to violate certain ethical rules accepted in the company, we may also speak about unprofessional conduct. Considering that, the behavior demonstrated by the grievant during his conflict with the colleague may be regarded as unprofessional conduct.
If you were the arbitrator, how would you rule in this case? Explain fully the reasons for your decision.
According to the statements from the discussed case, there are a lot of different arguments presented during the arbitration hearing by both parties to the conflict, and this is why it may be quite difficult to deliver a judgment taking all of them into consideration. Another factor that makes the case more difficult is that sometimes the notion of unprofessional conduct that became the reason of Jesse’s discharge is misinterpreted by one of the parties in order to avoid expenses and other negative circumstances. In general, if I were the arbitrator supposed to rule in this case, I would prefer to gather additional information during the arbitration hearing. In particular, I would like to focus on such factor as relationships. In order to do that, I would ask additional questions while interviewing witnesses of the incident and Garry Lindekin in order to retrieve more facts concerning their relationships with Stansky before the incident. I would need it to exclude the guesses that Lindekin could provoke the conflict intentionally or one of the managers wanted to find a pretext to fire the grievant. Furthermore, I would like to know if there have been similar incidents in the company before and what were the consequences for the parties. In case if this version was excluded, I would be likely to dismiss Jesse’s complaint because the clause of the contract had been violated.
Snell, S., Morris S. and Bohlander, G. (2017). Managing Human Resources (17e). Mason, OH: Cengage.