In a decision rendered recently by the American Arbitration Association, a AAA Arbitrator has ruled that a board of education had just cause to terminate a custodian with a relatively unblemished record for repeatedly leaving work early and recording on their time sheets that they had worked their full shift. The case involved two evening shift custodians at Hawley School in Newtown. As is the case with many of Connecticut’s schools, there is no on-site supervision outside of the bargaining unit in the evenings. It was discovered these employees would routinely leave early yet record on their time sheets that they had worked the full shift. Relying on the fact that the collective bargaining agreement made it clear that no employee could leave early without authorization, and that the time sheets explicitly stated “FALSIFICATION OF TIME SHEETS IS CAUSE FOR IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL,” the arbitrator concluded that the employees clearly should have known that leaving early was grounds for termination. Although progressive discipline is normally required, the Arbitrator noted that “some acts of misconduct are so grave that progressive discipline is neither required nor appropriate.”, and “Repeated theft of time and filing false time records are acts of moral turpitude for which it is generally recognized that progressive discipline is not appropriate.” Readers interested in obtaining a copy of the decision can contact Floyd Dugas.
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