New Work Rule With Disciplinary Consequences Must Be Bargained

The Plymouth County, Massachusetts Sheriff’s Department enacted a new work rule that required employees to report all off-duty contact with law enforcement personnel. The Association of County Employees challenged the new work rule through the grievance procedure in the contract.

An arbitrator upheld the Association’s grievance. The Arbitrator concluded that the County had “materially altered” the traditional interpretation of its work rule and had “substantially expanded its scope and effect.” Since violation of the new work rule could subject an employee to discipline, the Arbitrator concluded that the rule “affected employees’ terms and conditions of employment and constituted a mandatory subject of bargaining.” The Arbitrator directed the employer to rescind the new reporting requirement, and to bargain over any changes in the work rule in the future.

Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department, LAIG 6784 (Briney, 2009).

This article appears in the January 2010 issue