Court denies school superintendent's objections to arbitrator's decision about evidence
After he was fired by the Portage Pub Schools, the Superintendent took the District to arbitration. He was fired for having a prohibited sexual relationship with an employee whom he had hired. He argued that the termination violated his employment contract and invoked the contract's arbitration clause. Up until the arbitration, the employer claimed privilege as to an investigator's report into the Superintendent's relationship and refused to share it with the Superintendent. At the hearing, the school district withdrew it's claim of privilege at the last moment, so that it could present the testimony of the investigator as evidence against the terminated employee.
The Superintendent argued that refusing to allow him access to the Report in advance of the hearing was a violation of due process and that the arbitrator further erred in deeming the investigator an "expert" regarding credibility. The employee also argued that the School District interfered with his right to a fair decision by denying him access to other employees who would have supported his claim that the District had "previously tolerated sexual relationships between employees." The Court held that an arbitrator is not bound by any rules of evidence and was entitled to make his own decision about relevance and materiality.