First Student Inc. and Teamster, Local 493
An employer may lack just cause to discharge a long-term worker who fails to report nonhazardous conditions. On May 21, 2012, a child who was 5 years old or less, allegedly exposed himself or herself to another child on the school bus, and the bus driver, Sally Harlow, failed to inform the bus company, First Student Inc. The following day, the same student who allegedly had exposed himself or herself allegedly pointed a toy or antique gun at another student on the bus, and Harlow stopped the bus and confiscated the gun. A child on the bus contacted a parent, who contacted the school, which called the bus company. The gun had been used during show and tell earlier that day without incident. There was some concern about whether the gun was genuine. The State Police investigated and concluded it was incapable of firing and did not qualify as a gun. The school superintendent wrote to parents that the students were not in any danger. The school district requested that the bus company employ another driver on that particular route. The bus company discharged the bus driver and claimed that she violated safety procedures, because she did not report the incidents immediately. The union filed a grievance and argued that the bus driver had driven school buses for 22 years without incident and that the bus company failed to follow progressive discipline. The bus company claimed that the bus driver should have immediately reported both incidents. Arbitrators found that the bus company lacked just cause to discharge. Arbitrators characterized the gun incident as "sensationalism without substance" and observed that the State Police found that the toy or antique gun did not qualify as a gun, because it was incapable of firing. John Fussell represented the union, and Raymond Walther represented the employer.