A review of the case law demonstrates that most of the labor arbitration awards challenged on public policy grounds involve reinstatement of discharged employees. This article analyzes 138 private sector federal cases in which labor arbitration ·awards have been contested on public policy grounds. All the cases reviewed are discharge cases in which arbitration awards reversing the terminations were challenged. The article attempts to determine the factors that influence courts to uphold or overturn arbitration awards. This analysis will provide assistance to arbitrators in writing opinions that are less subject to challenge, and to employers, unions, and their attorneys in making arguments to arbitrators and courts, and in deciding whether to challenge arbitration awards. Finality of arbitration awards is one of the substantial virtues of the arbitral system. It is hoped that this analysis will contribute to the finality of arbitration awards, and thereby, to industrial peace. Furthermore, the analysis offers insights to parties and arbitrators in employment law discharge arbitrations also, when similar issues are likely to arise.
Ann C. Hodges, Judicial Review of Arbitration Awards on Public Policy Grounds: Lessons from the Case Law, 16 Ohio St. J. Disp. Resol. 91 (2000).