Wrongful Discharge:DRP

I was recently discharged from a management position for a national restaurant chain. I believed that the underlying factor was a conflict of interest between myself and my GM. The "reason" for my termination was one for which every manager in the company has performed, and never fired for. I believed that the reasoning was disriminatory toward me, so I decided to take it to our DRP process. I won the peer review and they proceeded to reinstate my job and then decided to take it to arbitration. Should I even go forward, since New York is a employment at will state? I could continue with a disrimination case because of my medical condition, but that is so hard to prove. I've been told to try but my chances are not good. Also, now that I have proceeded with the company's DRP process can I file a suit in court, even after the arbitration process. I thought that the decision rendered at that step is final and binding.
I believe the problem is a money issue now. They would have to pay between myself and unemployment over $15,000. The panel granted myself full back pay, including bonus. I am off to mediation, but I don't plan to get anywhere.
My reasoning for termination was one for which my GM had to search for and I have proof that every manager has done the same. I was moved to his store after training and only worked with him five days. During that time he had made some very disturbing remarks. Do I have any hope?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 14, 2002 12:54 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

David M. Lira
Suing After Arbitration

You query raises many more difficult issue than you think.

Let's start with this internal complaint processing process the employer has. Although I would need a lot more information from you about this process, it is possible that you have somehow bound yourself to the process so that you can no longer go to court.

About the mediation process. Mediation is inherently voluntary. Although there is no way for me to know whether your employer is bound to the results of the peer review process, if it is, if you cannot reach an agreement satisfactory to you at mediation, then the peer review determination remains. That is, if there is no agreement at mediation, you're stuck with what you've already got.

Arbitration is the process in which the results are not voluntary. But, one issue with arbitration is going to be the scope of the arbitrator's authority. Does the arbitrator review the case anew (de novo review)? Or does the arbitrator act in an appellate role, where it might be more difficult for the manager to overturn what you've already gotten? There is no way for me to answer these questions. It depends on how the program is set up.

There is also an issue of whether you are bound to submit to arbitration. This area of law is currently very much in flux. No one can give you definitive answers. Some people argue that you are not bound to go to arbitration if the process is unfair. But no one knows what makes an arbitration program fair or unfair, as yet.

posted by David M. Lira  |  Feb 14, 2002 11:30 AM [EST]

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