Arbitrators appear to be increasingly confronted with cases that raise medical issues. Some of these cases involve conflicting diagnoses, and some involve questions of the impact of drugs on work performance. The failure of the parties to provide adequate evidence can result in considerable problems to the employee and serious consequences at the workplace. Arbitrators who seek help from basic medical texts will find themselves in a better position to cope with the presentations of the parties and witnesses.
The parties in labor-management relations expect arbitrators to resolve problems of the workplace when they are unable to settle them themselves. Usually, these problems involve questions of contract interpretation and application or issues of whether discipline has been for just cause.
This practice of relying on arbitrators to solve the parties' more difficult questions has increased the expectation that arbitrators will be able to render "justice" on a wide variety of issues. All it takes, it is supposed, is for the parties to provide the arbitrator with the evidence necessary to make a just determination of the dispute. And if one of the parties is somewhat lacking in its presentation, the long experience of the arbitrator will enable him or her to figure out what was intended anyway.