1792 Johnstone, et al. v. UAW FCA Department
Case No: 1792
Johnstone requested a disability accommodation related to a sleep disorder, but the Company failed to act upon her request. Subsequently, the Company suspended Johnstone for 30 days for allegedly sleeping on the job. The Local grieved the suspension on the basis that the Company bypassed steps in the progressive discipline process, asserting that the suspension should have been limited to five days. The Local also filed a second grievance asserting that the discipline was the product of discrimination based on disability and gender. The Local’s Civil Rights Committee conducted an investigation which found Johnstone’s discrimination claims to be credible. The FCA Department settled the first grievance by agreeing to a reduced five-day suspension and settled the second grievance based upon the Company’s commitment to present the report of the Local’s Civil Right Committee to its diversity office for appropriate action.
Under the circumstances, the Local’s decision to challenge Johnstone’s suspension on the basis of progressive discipline, essentially conceding that a five-day suspension was appropriate, lacked a rational basis. It was not rational to omit from the grievance Johnstone’s principal ground for overturning the suspension based on management’s failure to act upon her disability accommodation request. Due to the manner in which the grievance was framed, the FCA Department was limited in terms of the relief which could be sought on Johnstone’s behalf. With regard to Johnstone’s second grievance, the FCA Department should have sought an agreement from management regarding concrete steps to address Johnstone’s discrimination complaint. Accordingly, the Union is ordered to reimburse Johnstone in an amount equal to the five-day suspension and reinstate the second grievance for the purpose of attempting to obtain an agreement from management to address the problems identified in the Local’s Civil Right Committee report.