Defending the termination
Employee insubordination, if left unchecked, can escalate into a major problem not only for the affected employee, but also to the whole workforce (Fossum, 2005). Several factors, however, need to be considered before disciplining an employee for insubordination. The present case presents an interesting twist to issues on labor relations, pitying an employee and the established formal framework of regulations.
The employee decision not to transport the patients seems to be based on two fundamental issues – the ability to drive safely and lack of a special license. These are major concerns that the employer ought to soberly look at before terminating the employee. It is worth noting that presenting a safety danger to the patients in the desire to force the employee to comply with formal orders cannot be justified or rationalized in any legal or labor system. Under such a circumstance, the employee has every right to refuse engaging in unsafe work and still expect to be protected under the existing labor laws.
In other words, she is entitled to challenge the directive requiring her to transport the patients without any fear of termination since the directive compromises not only her own safety but the safety of others
Labor decisions ought to be carried out in an objective and justifiable manner, and the employee’s contention that she does not trust herself when it comes to driving calls for a reconsideration of the decision to terminate her contract. It would be disastrous for the employer as well as the organization to force the employee into causing an accident so that it may be known officially that she is not a good driver. Such a decision will have a negative impact not only to the organization’s reputation, but also to its patients who may never trust the organization again, especially with the knowledge that the organization is supposed to take good care of them, at least health wise. This may call for reconsideration
A past practice, according to Fossum (2005), supports the desired elucidation and interpretation of prevailing contract language, which may not necessarily be in written form. The employer is rightly acting within his jurisdiction since the employee appended her signature in the contract papers, whereby one of the functions of the position holder as spelt out in the job description was to drive patients to their appointments. But when it comes to matters of labor relations, the employer can be accused of violating the past practice process since the said employee has religiously followed the practice of not driving the patients for the last six years, hence the practice qualifies to become a binding or obligatory unwritten contract between the employer and the employee.
The application of this practice, indeed, has been repeated by the employee for a long period of time.
Impact of Decision by State Board of Labor Appeals
The appeals referees’ panel is made up of employees acting in their capacity as judicial officers to investigate various labor related issues (Fossum, 2005). The decisions they make regarding a particular organization may be inconsequential to the employer since they are not binding, and can only sustain, alter or reverse a decision made by an adjudicator. The employer, however, can appeal against such decisions to the labor commission or any court of law. In this perspective, the decision made by state board of labor appeals may be inconsequential to the employer, and therefore, it may not impact his decision to uphold the termination
‘Work Now Grieve Later’ Provision
The employee is being accused by his employer of not following a formal order. This charge amounts to insubordination, and as such, the case could fall into the above stated provision. The main objective of the ‘work now grieve later’ provision is to facilitate an orderly labor environment in an organizational setup by ensuring that supervisory and managerial regulations are adhered to without question or dispute (Dwyer, 2009).
This particular case will also fall into this provision bearing in mind that the employee has a written contract with the employer requiring that she performs the tasks as stated in the job description for the position. The provision, however, allows the employee to air her grievances and challenge the directive requiring her to transport the patients since, according to her, such a directive compromises not only her own safety but the safety of others.
Dwyer, T.P. (2009). Applying the “obey now, grieve later” rule – part 1.
Retrieved April 23 2010 < http://www.policeone.com/legal/articles/1863201-Applying-the-Obey-Now-Grieve-Later-Rule-Part-I/> Fossum, J. (2005). Labor Relations: Development, structure, processes, 9th Ed.
McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN: 0072987138