Marvin Hill, jr., is an Associate Professor of Industrial Relations at Norttiern Illinois University and an arbitrator. Donald Dawson is Assistant Manager of the National Electrical Contractors Association, St. Louis Chapter
This article considers the criteria applied by labor arbitrators in resolving claims involving discharge or discipline ior off-duty misconduct under a contractual "justcause" standard. Although many of the same standards are applicable in both the private and public sectors, because of the number of offduty cases that are appealed to the courts under the Civil Service Reform Act, private and public sector decisions are examined separately. A synthesis of off-duty misconduct cases with policy recommendations and guides for the practitioner is also offered.
Discharge of an employee for misconduct committed while at work is a well-grounded management right and will usually be upheld by arbitrators as long as "just cause" is demonstrated. If, however, the misconduct occurs away from tbe workplace wbile tbe employee is off duty, management's rigbt to impose discipline is less clear. Tbe late dean of tbe Yale Law School, Harry Sbulman, pointing to the nature of the problem, observed: