Neshaminy Sch. Dist. v. Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, PICS Case No. 14-0052 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 9, 2014) Leavitt, J. (19 pages).

COMMONWEALTH COURT

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LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT

Teacher • Grievance • Public School Code • Statutory Hearing • Arbitration

Neshaminy Sch. Dist. v. Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, PICS Case No. 14-0052 (Pa. Commw. Jan. 9, 2014) Leavitt, J. (19 pages).

Teacher, who attended statutory hearing under the Public School Code waived her right to bring a grievance before the arbitration board even though school district's notice was defective. Reversed.

Buske, a teacher employed by the school district, was arrested on theft-related charges. The school district concluded that Buske's conduct constituted "immorality" under the Public School Code and sought her dismissal.

The district sent Buske a notice of hearing which stated, in part, that Buske's failure to request a hearing before the district would constitute a waiver of her "statutory, contractual and constitutional rights," and would result in her discharge without any hearing.

Burske attended the hearing but did not present evidence. Thereafter, Buske wrote the district that it was the union's intention to pursue a grievance on her behalf.

The school board voted to terminate Buske's employment. On appeal to the Secretary of Education, Buske challenged the school district's hearing notice as insufficiently detailed and generally confusing.

The union filed a grievance on behalf of Buske. The school district moved to dismiss, arguing that Buske had waived her right to grieve her dismissal by attending the hearing before the school board. The arbitrator denied the motion, concluding that Buske's passive attendance at the school board hearing did not, in itself, manifest a waiver of her right to grieve her dismissal under the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The arbitrator concluded that because Buske's record had been expunged, the school district lacked just cause to discharge Buske and ordered the district to reinstate Buske to her former position.

Four months later, the Secretary of Education upheld the school board's dismissal of Buske. The secretary found that the hearing notice contained the information required by statute, and that Buske waived the issue because she failed to raise it at the hearing. Buske did not appeal the adjudication.