UFCW Local 1445 Wins Reinstatement Of Cannabis Worker Who Was Fired Without Due Process

December 30, 2023

A neutral arbitrator recently ordered the reinstatement of a cannabis worker who had been fired from the cultivation center where he worked. The case was brought by UFCW, Local 1445 and alleged that the company failed to follow due process principles when it fired the employee without giving him notice of its expectations or an opportunity to address the allegations against him. Pyle Rome attorneys Al Gordon O'Connell and Ian Russell represented the Union.

The employee involved in the case had recently successfully completed a performance improvement plan related to attendance and performance issues as well as some odd claims relating to things such as his manner of dress. Unknown to the employees or the union, the manager had been keeping an "accountability log" containing her negative observations about the employees, including the grievant. Without having shared any of her concerns contained in this log, the manager fired the grievant based on a host of strange concerns, such as the way he was sitting in his chair while he was destemming. At no time prior to discharge did management interview the worker or give him or his union a chance to address the charges against him.

Although the Union had a number of valid arguments about why the employee did not deserve to be fired, the arbitrator overturned the discharge based solely on the fact that the company fired him without first giving him the chance to defend himself against the charges. The case presents a stark reminder that unionized employees have the right to due process and that discipline cannot stand if the employee is not allowed to address the accusations before discipline is rendered.