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Recent Legal Decisions of Note

IN THE MATTER OF BOARD OF FIRE COMMISSIONERS, FIRE DISTRICT NO. 1, MONROE TOWNSHIP AND MONROE TOWNSHIP PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS, LOCAL 3170 A-0765-14T2 Applying the dual motivation test in In re Township of Bridgewater, 95 N.J. 235 (1984), PERC determined that anti-union animus was a substantial or motivating factor for the Board's termination of firefighters. It also rejected as pretextual the Board's assertion that it fired the firefighters as a cost saving measure. Appellate Division affirmed PERC's determinations and held that after it reinstates an aggrieved employee, a public employer retains its rights under the New Jersey Employer-Employee Relations Act, N.J.S.A. 34:13A-1 to -43, "to discharge a worker for a legitimate business reason, unrelated to the employee's union activities." Twp. of Bridgewater, supra, 95 N.J. at 237. The reinstatement of the employee, therefore, does not forever preclude the public employer from making legitimate and non-retaliatory employment decisions.

BOUND BROOK BOARD OF EDUCATION VS. CIRIPOMPA A-2198-14T1 This appeal involves a teacher-tenure arbitration conducted pursuant to the Tenure Employees Hearing Law (TEHL), N.J.S.A. 18A:6-10 to -18.1. The Bound Brook Board of Education charged a high school teacher with two counts of unbecoming conduct and sought his dismissal. The arbitrator found that the Board proved the first charge, but not the second charge, and modified the penalty from dismissal to a 120-day suspension without pay. The Board then filed an action in the Chancery Division challenging the arbitrator's award. The Chancery Division judge vacated the award as procured by undue means pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:24-8(a) and remanded for a new arbitration hearing before a different arbitrator. Appellate Division reversed the vacature of the arbitration award and reinstated the award. The Appellate Division also rejected the teacher's argument that the court lacked authority to order a rehearing before a different arbitrator beyond forty-five days of the first arbitration hearing date





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