Expedited Arbitration Procedures

The University is currently piloting an expedited arbitration program. Expedited arbitration differs from a regular hearing in the following ways:

  1. The hearing will last no longer than one day. The hearing procedures are designed to ensure that the hearing is completed in one day.
  2. A non-University hearing officer will be appointed from a list furnished by the State Mediation and Conciliation Service.
  3. The employee's share of the hearing officer's fees and associated hearing costs may be capped at $300.00. Expedited arbitration offers substantial cost savings to all parties.

If you are interested in utilizing expedited arbitration, please review the sample Expedited Arbitration Agreement, then contact Employee & Labor Relations at (530) 754-8892.


EXPEDITED ARBITRATION AGREEMENT (Sample)

I. Agreement to submit grievance number 03-XXX-XXX-XX/XX to expedited arbitration.

The Grievant and University, individually and by and through their respective representatives, mutually agree to submit grievance number 03-XXX-XXX-XX/XX to arbitration, under the expedited procedures outlined below, for a final and binding decision. Both parties agree to utilize these expedited arbitration procedures, instead of the regular arbitration procedures defined in [insert policy or contract section] which both parties acknowledge to be available. Once this Agreement has been signed, the decision to utilize the expedited arbitration procedures cannot be revoked, except by mutual agreement.

Unless specifically altered by the provisions of this Agreement, all provisions of [insert policy or contract sections regarding Grievances and Arbitration] apply.

II. Hearing Officer Selection and Hearing Scheduling

The Hearing Officer shall be selected as follows.

Upon receipt of a signed copy of this Agreement, the State Mediation and Conciliation Service (SMCS) will provide a list of potential hearing officers. After having obtained a list of available hearing dates from the potential hearing officers, the parties will conduct a strike-off procedure. If none of the potential hearing officers have available dates within 45 days, the State Mediation and Conciliation Service will provide a new list. The 45 day time limit may only be extended by the mutual, written, agreement of the parties.

The Hearing Officer will give the parties two potential hearing dates. Within 5 calendar days of receipt of the potential dates, the parties will mutually pick one of the dates offered, and will so inform the Hearing Officer. If neither date is acceptable, the University will ask the Hearing Officer for additional dates. The University will be responsible for making hearing room arrangements.

The Hearing Officer, by accepting the appointment, agrees to hold the hearing under the procedures outlined in both this Agreement, including Section X-Fees and Costs, and in [insert policy or contract section] (copies attached).

Within the rules established by this Agreement, the appointed Hearing Officer shall assure a fair and adequate hearing, providing both parties sufficient opportunity to present their respective evidence and argument.

III. Hearing Officer's Authority

The Hearing Officer's authority is limited to that identified in [insert policy or contract section] and this Agreement. The Hearing Officer shall have no authority to add to, delete from, or otherwise modify the provisions of either [insert name of entire contract or policy manual] or this Agreement.

IV. Pre-Hearing Procedures

No later than 10 calendar days prior to the hearing date, each party will submit the following three items to the Hearing Officer (with a complete copy to the other party):

  1. A concise written statement (no longer than 10 double-spaced pages) setting forth the basis for their case. This statement will clearly identify the issue(s) to be decided at the hearing. With respect to each issue, the statement will set forth the pertinent facts in the case and identify how policy was violated or followed.

    The parties will attempt to agree on a statement of the issue(s) under review. However, if the parties are unable to agree on a statement of the issue(s), the Hearing Officer shall state the issue(s).

  2. A copy of all documents that each party plans to introduce as an exhibit at the hearing. These documents must be numbered and clearly identified as Grievant 1, Grievant 2, or University 1, University 2, etc. It is up to each party to number and identify all exhibits submitted to the Hearing Officer.
  3. A list of witnesses who will be called to testify in person or by sworn affidavit. Affidavits, if used, must accompany the witness list. Because the hearing is designed to be completed in one day, care and consideration must be given in deciding whom to call.

No later than 3 business days prior to the hearing, each party may submit objections to the Hearing Officer pertaining to the admissibility of evidence, the relevance of witnesses, or the use of affidavits. These objections must be submitted in writing, with a copy to the other party. The Hearing Officer will rule on the objections at the start of the hearing, unless he or she determines that further information is required before ruling. Either party may request a conference call prior to the hearing to resolve evidentiary issues.

If one party fails to submit its three items by the deadline, the other party shall then have the option of rescheduling the hearing, with the cost of rescheduling to be borne by the party which failed to submit the items on time.

Documents which have not been provided to the other party and the Hearing Officer at least 3 calendar days prior to the hearing may be accepted into evidence only for the purpose of rebuttal.

If upon the Hearing Officer's request, a party refuses to produce documents or witnesses under the party's custody or control, the Hearing Officer may draw such inferences as he or she deems appropriate. However, the Hearing Officer has no power to subpoena either documents or witnesses.

V. Representation Rights

Each party is entitled to representation at the hearing. The Grievant may be represented by any individual of his or her choosing, except that a supervisor may not represent a non-supervisor, and a non-supervisor may not represent a supervisor. The Grievant may also represent himself or herself. The Grievant shall be solely responsible for his or her own representative's fees, if any. The Hearing Officer has no authority to award attorney's or representative's fees to either party.

VI. Hearing Procedures

The hearing shall be tape recorded. A court reporter shall not be used. The tape recording shall constitute the official record of the hearing. The tapes will not be transcribed. The University will maintain custody and control of the tapes. Upon request, the University will provide a copy of the tapes to the Hearing Officer and/or the Grievant without charge.

Except by the mutual written agreement of the parties, the hearing shall be closed to all persons other than the principal parties to the grievance.

At the commencement of the hearing, the Hearing Officer shall state the issue(s) under review. The Hearing Officer shall identify for the record all exhibits submitted by the parties, and shall rule, as appropriate, on any objections to the exhibits.

This Agreement, and the procedures outlined herein, are designed to allow both sides to present their cases fully and completely in one day. At the request of both of the parties, and in extraordinary circumstances only, the Hearing Officer is authorized to allow additional hearing time.

Opening statements are discouraged. The written statement submitted to the Hearing Officer (see section IV, above) should be considered in lieu of an opening statement. If an opening statement is made, it shall not exceed ten minutes.

Burden of Proof/Order of Testimony. In discipline or dismissal cases, the University will have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the admissible evidence that the discipline or dismissal was issued for "just cause." In all other cases, the Grievant will have the burden of proving, by a preponderance of the admissible evidence, each element of his/her claim. In discipline or dismissal cases, the University shall present its case first. In all other cases, the Grievant shall go first.

Witnesses. The testimony of all witnesses shall be given under oath or affirmation; the oath or affirmation shall be administered by the Hearing Officer.

Release Time for Witnesses. The grievant and his/her representative (if a University employee) shall be in a without-loss-of-straight-time pay status at the hearing. University employee-witnesses who appear to testify at the hearing shall be in a without-loss-of-straight-time pay status for time spent actually giving testimony.

Because this is a one-day hearing, each side will have approximately three hours to present, and conclude, its case; this will include both direct and cross-examination of all witnesses, and, if necessary, rebuttal. This three hour limit is intended as a guideline only, to help the parties prepare and plan their case. The Hearing Officer will be responsible for ensuring, as far as possible, that the one-day time limit is adhered to.

In order to assure that the hearing is completed in one day, the Hearing Officer is encouraged to take an active role in the proceedings, to limit redundant and repetitive questions and testimony, and to question witnesses himself or herself as appropriate.

Post-hearing briefs are not allowed.

VII. Hearing in the Absence of a Party

The hearing may proceed in the absence of any party who, after due notice, fails to be present. An award shall not be made solely on the default of a party. The Hearing Officer shall require the attending party to submit supporting evidence.

VIII. Evidence

Strict adherence to federal or state rules regarding the admissibility or exclusion of evidence need not apply. The Hearing Officer shall be the sole judge of the admissibility, relevance and materiality of all evidence and testimony offered. The Hearing Officer may receive and consider any evidence offered, including hearsay, but shall give appropriate weight to any objections made.

IX. Hearing Officer's Award and Opinion

The Hearing Officer's decision must be issued within 14 calendar days from the close of the hearing. The decision should not be longer than 5 typewritten pages. The Hearing Officer also has the option of issuing a bench decision, or a decision by FAX or telephone within 2-3 days of the hearing; to be followed by a brief written memorandum of the decision within 14 calendar days from the close of the hearing.

The Hearing Officer's decision can be cited as precedent in future cases unless one party objects at least 10 days prior to the hearing date. The objection is submitted in writing to the Hearing Officer with a copy to the other party.

X. Fees and Costs

The University shall pay the room rental cost, if any. The Grievant and the University shall each pay half of all other costs. However, a grievant who is personally paying his/her own costs and is not represented, may request a cap of $300 on his/her cost and that the University shall pay the difference. In the extraordinary event that the Hearing Officer authorizes more than one day of hearing, the cost of additional days of hearing shall be divided equally between the parties.

By way of illustration, the typical cost of a one-day hearing is shown below:

Hearing Officer's per diem fee for one day of hearing: $800
Hearing Officer's per diem fee for pre-hearing work, and writing the decision: $800
TOTAL FEES AND COSTS $1,600
Normal: Grievant's share $800, University's share $800
When a cap has been approved: Grievant's share $300, University's share $1,300

If the hearing is postponed at the request of one party, the requesting party shall pay the Hearing Officer's charge for the postponement, if any. If the grievance is withdrawn or settled, the cancellation costs shall be divided as described above. The Hearing Officer shall inform all parties of his/her cancellation policy upon appointment.

I certify that I have read and understand this Agreement, and I agree to be bound by the decision rendered. I acknowledge that I am aware of my right to full and complete hearing under [insert policy or contract section], and I freely and voluntarily waive that right.


Grievant

Date

Grievant's Representative

Date

Department Representative

Date

University Representative

Date