MDC and AFSCME, Council 4, Local 3713
In the absence of progressive discipline and counseling, arbitrators can find that discharge of an employee with a good disciplinary record is overly harsh and reduce the discharge to an unpaid suspension. In 1993, the Metropolitan District Commission hired Donna Smith. The Metropolitan District Commission permitted workers to use work computers for personal business, provided that the workers kept personal use to a minimum. Allegedly, Smith did not keep her personal use of her work computer to a minimum, and the Metropolitan District Commission discharged her. The union filed a grievance and argued that Smith had a good disciplinary record, Smith's supervisor provided minimal guidance and the Metropolitan District Commission should have followed progressive discipline. The majority of arbitrators voted, 2-1, that discharge was overly harsh and reduced the discharge to an unpaid suspension. Arguably, the employee did not receive guidance from her supervisor about personal use of her work computer. Other workers who were similarly situated and who violated the Metropolitan District Commission's computer policy were not discharged. "[D]iscipline," wrote the majority, "was a hammer dropped on an employee without the benefit of sufficient warning or direction." Scott Chadwick represented the city, and Wayne Marshall represented the union.