When an arbitrator goes “off the rails,” employers need to appeal the decision. Congratulations to Monongahela Valley Hospital for appealing and prevailing!

The contract language was clear – the Hospital had right to grant vacations and the right was “exclusively reserved to the Hospital.” When the arbitrator ignored the clear language, created his own interpretation, and included a new “operating need” standard not found anywhere in the contract, the Third Circuit smacked him down.

The Court scolded the arbitrator and held that, “Manifestly disregarding the Hospital’s “final,” “exclusive” and “unilateral” right to schedule vacations, the arbitrator deviated far beyond the scope of his authority by force-feeding the “operating need” requirement into the CBA.”

Judge Ambro drove the message home with this final warning, “Where an arbitrator injects a restriction into a contract to which the Hospital did not agree and to which the bargaining unit employees are not entitled, he dispenses his own brand of industrial justice and should be overturned.”

Have you had an arbitrator go off the rails? Did you appeal it?