Pyle Rome obtains arbitration decision awarding employees Saturday holiday pay under the doctrine of past practice

February 02, 2012

Arbitrator Robert O'Brien has found that the Town of Scituate violated its contract with the Union by denying employees compensatory time on Christmas Eve Day, when Christmas fell on a Saturday. On Christmas Eve Day, Town Hall closed early, but the Employer did not provide compensatory time to cover the remainder of the normal work day. Rejecting the Employer’s claim that since employees were paid for their regular work week and that the plain language of the contract did not entitle them to compensatory time, the Arbitrator ruled that the language governing Saturday holidays was ambiguous and, therefore, the Union was entitled to introduce extensive evidence of a ten+ year practice of the Employer’s granting compensatory time in these situations. The Employer argued that a clause in the agreement stating that an arbitrator could not consider past practice when the language was clear prevented consideration of past practice evidence. However, the Arbitrator found that this language did not prevent him from considering past practice because, in fact, the holiday language was not clear.

Attorney David Rome argued the case on behalf of the Union.

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