In the Workplace

Updates on Binding Arbitration

A great victory for Maryland ESPs

Maryland education support professionals (ESPs) recently scored a huge victory from the Court of Appeals. In December, the Court ruled that the termination of a non-certificated employee is a proper subject of binding arbitration in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. In other words, all discipline of a non-certificated employee is now subject to binding arbitration assuming that the local ESP association’s contract contains a just cause provision. No longer will non-certificated employees be subject to the whims of a principal or superintendent. This is a big win for ESPs—and for fairness. In counties where a contract lacks just cause or arbitration, locals should take a firm position in negotiations and insist on the inclusion of such language. Contact your local association to learn more about your contract and just cause provisions.

Arbitration for the suspension and termination of teachers

MSEA is working toward obtaining similar rights for certifi- cated employees, which requires a statutory change by the General Assembly. House Bill 1228/Senate Bill 832 allow a certificated employee who is facing suspension or termination the right to choose a hearing before the local board’s hearing oœcer, who is charged with making a recommendation, or an arbitrator, who makes a final and binding decision based upon the law. The goal is to provide teachers with a fair and objective hearing process that comports with their due process rights.

What is binding arbitration? Binding arbitration is a way to resolve a dispute outside of a courtroom. Decisions made in binding arbitration are final and may be appealed to court under very limited circumstances.

What is scope of bargaining? It involves determining whether certain topics must be addressed, may be addressed, or are illegal topics in negotiations between parties.

What is just cause? Just cause means that an employer must conduct a thorough and fair investigation before disciplining or terminating an employee.