Pyle Rome overturns termination of human service worker despite DCF finding of abuse

January 02, 2012

On January 3, Attorney Al Gordon obtained an arbitration decision overturning a human service agency’s decision to terminate a group care worker despite a substantiated finding of abuse by the Department of Children & Families (DCF). According to the Arbitrator:

"[T]he DCF finding of abuse is not, in and of itself, a substitute for or independent proof of the contractual requirement that the Employer have “just cause” to terminate a bargaining unit member’s employment. . . . DCF’s finding of abuse is certainly a relevant piece of evidence. It is certainly something to consider if and when there is an arbitral finding that there was not just cause for the discipline imposed. But as shown in the case at hand, the regulations governing the Office of Child Care Services did not require [the grievant’s] termination."

This is the third recent victory of this kind obtained by Pyle Rome attorneys and firmly establishes the principle that a finding of abuse or neglect by DCF does not, in and of itself, provide just cause to terminate an employee.

In cases such as these, our unions often find that DCF fails to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation and that employers are making knee-jerk decisions to terminate employees based solely on these flawed and biased DCF determinations. The lawyers of Pyle Rome vow to continue fighting against these decisions, which ignore the rights of unionized employees and throw away the careers of hardworking human service workers without the due process that they deserve.

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