Commission Restrains Arbitration Citing Anti-Nepotism Policy

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

New Jersey Turnpike Authority and International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, Local 200/200A

In P.E.R.C. No. 2014-27, the Commission restrained arbitration over a grievance that alleged that the employer violated the parties’ collective negotiations agreement when it transferred an employee from the Tolls Department to the Operations Department and changed her title.  The employer argued that it transferred the employee because she was in a “reporting relationship” with her husband and that its anti-nepotism policy forbids such reporting relationships between relatives.  Contrary to Commission rules, the Authority did not support its factual assertions with a certification based upon personal knowledge.  The union, however, did file a certification of the employee who stated that she and her husband had worked in the same department for many years, her husband did not directly supervise her, there were two levels of supervision separating him from her, and he did not have authority over her personnel matters.  Absent any facts from the Authority, the Commission nevertheless found that the Authority had deemed it best that the employee no longer work in the same department as her husband and that the decision to transfer the grievant stemmed from the Authority’s managerial prerogative to determine its anti-nepotism policy.

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