Portland Police Assn. v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Arbitration
  • Date Filed: 12-30-2015
  • Case #: A152657
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Armstrong, P.J. For the Court; Nakamoto, J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Oregon appellate court decisions interpreting ORS 243.706(1) hold that “the public policy analysis must be directed at the award, not the [underlying] conduct”; therefore, the board is “not to substitute [its] judgment for the arbitrator’s determination of whether the public employee engaged in the conduct resulting in discipline.” As a condition of enforceability, any arbitration award that orders the reinstatement of a public employee or otherwise relieves the public employee of responsibility for misconduct shall comply with public policy requirements as clearly defined in statutes or judicial decisions including but not limited to policies respecting sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, unjustified and egregious use of physical or deadly force and serious criminal misconduct, related to work.

This case arose out of the 2010 shooting death of Aaron Campbell by a Portland Police Officer. After an investigation, the City of Portland discharged the officer for violating the Portland Police Bureau’s use-of-force policies. The Portland Police Association filed a grievance on behalf of the officer and challenged the discharge. The grievance proceeded to arbitration. The arbitrator determined that the City lacked just cause to terminate, ordering the City to reinstate him. The City refused to implement the arbitrator’s decision; the Association filed a complaint with the Employment Relations Board, contending that the City’s refusal to implement the award violated the parties’ collective bargaining agreement. The Board upheld the complaint. The City sought judicial review of the Board’s final order, contending that the Board erred because the arbitrator’s award is unenforceable as a matter of public policy. The Court concluded that the arbitration award ordering the city to reinstate the officer was not unenforceable under the public-policy exception. Accordingly, because the City agreed to final and binding arbitration, the Board correctly determined that the City violated when it refused to comply with the award. Affirmed.

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