On January 24, 2011, Partner Matt Wakefield received a favorable arbitration award on behalf of a major hotel in Southern California. The hotel had terminated a telephone operator for refusing to take a drug/alcohol test. The union representing the telephone operator grieved the discharge, arguing that the hotel did not have reasonable cause to require the employee to submit to a drug/alcohol test. The employer argued that it had the right to test the employee after he had twice fallen asleep on the job and smelled of alcohol. While the union disputed the employee’s condition, the employer pointed out that the employee had the opportunity to exonerate himself, without any loss of income, by simply taking the drug/alcohol test. The arbitrator agreed with the employer and denied the grievance. The arbitrator explained that if the employee was as innocent as he claimed, he should have chosen “to follow the conventional principle of ‘obeying now and grieving later.’”

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