A Focus On Lack Of Due Process Leads To Victory For Attorney Ian Russell And 1199SEIU In Reinstating Fired Worker

February 02, 2024

On February 2, 2024, an arbitrator ordered Wellpath Recovery Solutions to reinstate a Recovery Treatment Assistant at Bridgewater State Hospital who was fired without a full and fair investigation. Pyle Rome attorney Ian Russell represented 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East in the arbitration victory.

The case centered on a requirement that employees use an electronic monitoring system on handheld devices in order to check on patients. While the employee at issue had previously been counseled in her performance reviews for allegedly failing to timely perform the required checks, the Employer was also aware of complaints that the handheld devices were not always functioning properly. On the evening in question, the grievant had reported to two supervisors that she was having problems with the handheld device and yet she was ordered to keep using it. It was therefore unsurprising when the data showed a high percentage of late patient checks that evening. What was surprising was that the Employer fired her based on the data without conducting any further investigation or even looking into the reported technology failures.

In arguing the case for the Union, Attorney Russell maintained that an employer violates employees' due process rights when it disciplines someone like this without conducting a full and fair investigation. The arbitrator agreed that the discharge was unfair and ordered that the employee be reinstated and made whole for all lost wages and benefits.

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