State v. Connecticut State Employees Association
A court can vacate an arbitration award, if the arbitrator exceeds his powers, pursuant to Connecticut General Statutes §52-418(a)(4). After Storm Irene in August 2011, Daphne McKinney allegedly obtained $793 in Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance benefits. The State of Connecticut discharged Daphne McKinney and claimed that McKinney knowingly misappropriated public funds when she accepted the storm-related benefits, because she allegedly failed to disclose her employment with the state and $70,000 in savings. The union filed a grievance, and an arbitrator concluded that discharge was overly harsh and reinstated McKinney. The State of Connecticut appealed to Superior Court. The court found that the state did not persuade the arbitrator that McKinney intentionally submitted a fraudulent application for storm-related benefits. It did not violate public policy to reinstate McKinney, absent a conclusion that she knowingly misappropriated public funds. The state failed to prove that the arbitrator exceeded his powers, in violation of Connecticut General Statutes §52-418(a)(4), and the court denied the state's application to vacate the arbitration award.