Arbitrator Has Authority To Award Two Years Of Missed Overtime To Officer

The Town of Wallkill, New York, placed a police officer on modified duty after his involvement in an incident that had possible disciplinary ramifications. One of the restrictions on the officer was that he not be allowed to work overtime. The officer’s labor organization, the Town of Wallkill Police Benevolent Association, challenged the Town’s decision in arbitration. An arbitrator agreed with the Association, and not only ordered that the officer be allowed to work overtime but also directed the Town to make the officer whole for two years of lost overtime opportunities.

The Town challenged the Arbitrator’s decision in court. When a trial court upheld the Arbitrator’s decision, the Town appealed to New York’s Appellate Division.

The Appeals Court also upheld the Arbitrator’s decision. The Court pointed to the Town’s stipulation in arbitration that the Arbitrator was empowered to determine the appropriate remedy if the Arbitrator found that the Town violated the collective bargaining agreement. In the Court’s judgment, overturning “the arbitration award is not warranted since it did not violate a strong public policy, was not irrational, and did not clearly exceed a specifically enumerated limitation on the Arbitrator’s power.”

Town of Wallkill v. Town of Wallkill Police Benevolent Association, 867 N.Y.S.2d 147 (A.D. 2008).

This article appears in the January 2009 issue