Alaska v. Public Safety Employees AssociationAnnotate this Case
An Alaska state trooper was terminated in part due to dishonesty. The Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA) filed a grievance on behalf of the discharged trooper and then invoked arbitration. An arbitrator reinstated the trooper, ruling that the State did not have cause to terminate him. The superior court upheld the arbitrator's ruling. The State appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the arbitrator committed gross error and that the reinstatement of the trooper was unenforceable. Upon review of the arbitrator's decision and subsequent superior court ruling, the Supreme Court held that the arbitrator's award in this case was not enforceable as a violation of public policy: "the State should be free to heighten its enforcement of ethical standards. . . We are [. . . ] troubled by the arbitrator's suggestion that the State's past lenience toward minor dishonesty requires it to be permanently lenient." Because the arbitrator's award was neither unenforceable nor grossly erroneous, the Court affirmed the superior court and the arbitration decision.