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Arbitration Award- Overturned Termination:

LCCP has been successful in overturning the termination of a DOC employee by arguing that the employee's First Amendment rights were violated. The Correctional Officer posed a message on an on-line bulletin board at voy.com in which he indicated his disgust with the state of contract negotiations between MCOFU and the DOC. His messages criticized suggestion of a legal strike by advocating aggressive bargaining in an effort to reach a new contract, and poked fun at the DOC's negotiation tactics. The DOC argued that the Officer's posting posed a threat to the institution. While the Arbitrator did find that the Officer's use of language was graphic and inappropriate in the context of a correctional institution, the Arbitrator did not find that the Officer was advocating violence or threatening actual violence. In addition, the Arbitrator found that two similar situations where employees had been disciplined for posting threatening language resulted in ten day and sixty day suspensions, respectively. The fact that the Officer had been terminated was disparate and, therefore, the Arbitrator reduced the Officer's suspension from termination to a sixty day suspension. In doing so, the Arbitrator determined that the DOC had violated Article 23.1 of the CBA and ordered the Officer returned to his position without loss of seniority and with back pay equal to the amount of pay he would have earned from the date of his termination to the date of his reinstatement, minus the sixty day suspension. (BayState Legal Defense Service Newsletter, Volume I-3)

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