1707 Tolbert v. UAW-Chrysler Department
Case No: 1707
Tolbert grieved a 30-day disciplinary layoff issued to her for having used a derogatory reference to her co-worker’s sexual orientation. It is true that the witnesses’ statements about Tolbert’s use of the objectionable term seem somewhat contrived. Tolbert has submitted a persuasive statement from her brother that she would not have used this term. However, management responded to the union’s attempts to negotiate a lesser penalty for Tolbert by expressing concern that a tense situation in Tolbert’s department was escalating. In its effort to bring peace to the tool crib, management acted even-handedly by applying the same penalty to both parties involved in the dispute. The UAW-Chrysler Department had to consider how this situation would appear to an arbitrator. An arbitrator would be unlikely to reverse a penalty designed to eliminate behavior that was disrupting the company’s operations and appeared headed toward some kind of a crisis. We conclude that the decision of the UAW-Chrysler Appeal Board not to arbitrate Tolbert’s grievance was rational based on this record.