Arbitration Award Appealed in Case Involving Positive Drug Test

After an arbitrator ruled that a wholesale beverage company did not have just cause for terminating a union-affiliated driver who produced drug test results positive for cocaine, the wholesaler appealed the decision to federal court.

The original arbitration case involved International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 59 (Union), which represented drivers for Colonial Wholesale Beverage Co. (Colonial). In this case, the Union filed a grievance regarding the termination of a driver, arguing that it was without cause. Colonial countered, presenting evidence that the driver had been terminated based on its substance abuse policy as outlined in the parties' collective bargaining agreement employee handbook. It was the Union's position that the driver's positive drug test was the result of cocaine use that occurred at a party several days before the test and that he was neither impaired at work nor at the time the test was administered. Ultimately, the arbitrator found that Colonial lacked just cause to terminate the driver.

Colonial moved to vacate the award in federal court, arguing that the arbitrator exceeded authority by applying an incorrect standard. Colonial contended that the arbitrator should have focused his analysis broadly, relative to "what should be the appropriate outcome for (the driver) in light of his positive test result" as opposed to whether there was just cause for the driver's authority. While the grounds to vacate a labor arbitration award are narrow, courts will vacate awards where it is clear an arbitrator has exceeded his authority under the contract or substituted his judgment as to what is "industrial justice."

The outcome of this appeal is pending.

Employers are encouraged to review internal drug testing policies and take note of National Safety Council recommendations regarding drug testing in safety sensitive positions, as well as the United States Department of Transportation testing requirements for CDL holders.

Posted: January 4, 2021

All Rights Reserved © 2021 Certiphi Screening, Inc.
This document and/or presentation is provided as a service to our customers. Its contents are designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice or binding case law, nor shared with any third parties. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel. Although care has been taken in preparation of these materials, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information contained within it. Anyone using this information does so at his or her own risk.

Thank you for your interest in Business Information Group. We have received your message and will contact you in one business day or less.
Something went wrong. Try again
You have exceeded the number of attempts to submit this form. As a result, your IP address has been temporarily blocked.
Something went wrong. Try again

Get In Touch

Send a Message *fields required

What are your Interests?optional

Even our RFP PROCESS is state-of-the-art.

Find out why

What Our Clients Are Saying

Everyone I have contacted at Certiphi has been a complete pleasure to work with. The Certiphi customer service rivals every other customer service I come in contact with. Everyone is always so professional, yet super nice! Thanks for all you do and keep up the amazing work and impeccable service that you provide!!!

Human Resources Assistant
Large Medical Staffing Firm

Thank you so much! You have such an incredible reputation within our office; I think we would all say your customer service levels are continually at about 125%!

Human Resources Generalist
Medical and Surgical Hospital

The response time has been very quick. The turnaround times are great. I love your systems and that I can go in and look at the process as its going.

Human Resources Manager
Medical Staffing Agency

It’s such a great customer service that you provide and I’m happy to tell that to anyone.

Pastoral Care Associate
Large Children's Hospital

Working with Certiphi has been such a pleasure. Certiphi has taught me so much, not just about backgrounds but also the meaning of great business.

Human Resources Specialist
Large Medical Staffing Firm

We flew through our NCQA licensure review.  We very much appreciate Certiphi's help in earning a 100% score for the files!

Accreditation Manager
Hospital System Analytics Company

You are about to leave

Ok, Continue Cancel