Delta Dental Teamster reinstated after unfair termination for attendance

Janet Masolo

Teamsters 856 took on the egregious application of an employer’s attendance policy, and won.

Janet Masolo worked in customer service for Delta Dental for nearly nine years. Throughout her time there, she was awarded for her work and service to the company. That’s why, when Janet was unfairly terminated from her position for allegedly violating the Company’s attendance policy, it came as a shock.

“After working there for eight and a half years, working mandatory overtime, coming in on my days off, training new hires, and everything else I did for that company, I felt really betrayed,” said Janet.

Janet says her manager was not applying the attendance policy to her the same way she was to other employees, and when she was eventually terminated, she knew it was unfair.

“As soon as I got home, I got my Rep.’s number from my Shop Steward – who was also shocked at my being terminated,” she said. “Before I even filed for unemployment, I called Susanna [her Teamsters 856 Rep.].”

Teamsters 856 filed a grievance, but could not reach a fair agreement with Delta Dental. In December 2016, the matter went to arbitration.

During arbitration, Teamsters 856 Staff Attorney Rep. Susanna Farber presented evidence of the unreasonableness of the policy and her testimony demonstrated that the attendance policy had not been applied equitably, but rather, arbitrarily.

Delta Dental stood by its “no-fault” attendance policy, and said that it had been applied fairly in Janet’s case. Teamsters 856 countered that not only was the policy not applied evenly to all employees, Janet’s supervisor deviated from the company’s policy in several other ways when the decision was made to terminate her, as well.

In April of this year, the arbitrator decided there was no just cause for Janet’s termination. According to the arbitration award: “The Grievant is to be reinstated to her former position as a CSA and made whole for lost wages and benefits in accord with traditional backpay principles.”

“This is an example of management not following its own rules and our union holding them accountable,” said Susanna. “We did not give up the fight even after a long battle, and in the end, we won.”

“I felt vindicated and relieved that my voice was heard,” said Janet. “Delta kept thinking I was going to go away, but we didn’t go away. My union really pleaded my case, and I was very thankful that I had them on my side.”