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.