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PSU Association of University Professors v. PSU

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 11-29-2012
Case #: S059182
Durhman, J. for the Court; En Banc.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/S059182.pdf

Employment Law: Pursuant to ORS 659A.030(1)(f), a public university may not discontinue employee grievance procedures when a public employee's contract mandates such procedures, even when the employee seeks statutory discrimination relief.

Appellant Portland State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (the Association) appealed the Oregon Court of Appeals decision in favor of Portland State University (PSU). Lisa Wilson, a PSU faculty member, supported a colleague's claim regarding workplace sexual harassment. Soon thereafter, Wilson was told that her contract would not be renewed. Wilson filed a grievance claim against PSU. PSU invoked a Resort to Other Procedures (ROP) clause which discontinued the grievance procedure. The Association filed a complaint with the Employment Relations Board (ERB), arguing that because Wilson's contract mandated a grievance procedure, PSU had therefore engaged in discriminatory labor practices by halting that procedure. The ERB agreed and ordered PSU to submit to the grievance process. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the ERB's ruling holding that the ERB utilized an improper standard in its ruling. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the Appeals Court and reaffirmed the ERB's ruling, holding that the ROP was facially discriminatory. Reversed and remanded.