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Judge Forces Choice of Arbitrator in Sick Days Dispute

Saturday, January, 17, 2015

Teacher Scott Gefroh and the Bismarck Public School District in North Dakota have been locked in an ongoing dispute over the number of sick days the educator can claim due to his heart condition, which has seen the teacher spend several days in the past year at the Mayo Clinic.


The agreement between the teacher’s union and the school district specifies that sick days are awarded by the district based on need, but that disputes about the number of sick days must be brought in front of an arbitrator.  The dispute over the number of sick days Gefroh was awarded made its way to the courts because the two sides could not agree on a choice of arbitrator.


Judge Bruce Haskell has overseen several attempts to choose an arbitrator from a list of choices submitted by both sides.  His most recent ruling forces each side to remove one of the final three arbitrators left on the list, with the arbitrator left being assigned the proceeding.


This likely means the arbitrator will be one that Gefroh and his attorney would like, which is a setback for the district.  However, the arbitrator will only make a recommendation to the Bismarck School Board, which will ultimately make the final decision in the matter, so there is some comfort for frustrated district officials who believe Gefroh is being unnecessarily difficult in the choice of arbitrator in an effort to secure a sympathetic ear for his dispute.