Does An Employee Have Standing to Bring Suit to Enforce An Arbitration Award ?
In Lepp v. Hazardous Waste Facility Bd. (Sept. 26, 1991), Franklin App. No. 91AP-464, 1991 Ohio App, the common pleas court found that Michael Lepp lacked standing under R.C. 2711.09 to seek confirmation of the arbitration award and dismissed his complaint.
On appeal to this court, Lepp challenged the common pleas court's determination about standing. the Lepp court found that former R.C. 4117.14(E) and 4117.09(B)(1) were the proper sections to be applied to resolve the issues presented in that case. Id. In Lepp, this court stated:
While the Ohio case law in this area is scarce, at least one court of appeals has addressed the subject in the context of public employees.
In Braswell v. Lucas Metro. Housing Auth. (1985), 26 Ohio App.3d 51, 26 Ohio B. 225, 498 N.E.2d 184, the court held that an employee of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, now confirmed to be a public employer subject to R.C. Chapter 4117, Cincinnati Metro. Hous. Auth. v. State Emp. Relations Bd. (1990), 53 Ohio St.3d 221, 560 N.E.2d 179, could sue her employer for breach of the collective bargaining agreement between her union and employer. Inasmuch as R.C. 4117.14 and 4117.09 authorize parties to the agreement both to bring suit for breach of the collective bargaining agreement, as well as to enforce arbitration awards, the Braswell decision suggests that a public employee is a party to the agreement with standing to sue in the common pleas court not only to redress violations of the collective bargaining agreement, but also to enforce arbitration awards rendered in his or her favor. Id.
The Lepp court further stated:
Whether or not Braswell was decided in the context of R.C. Chapter 4117, the result reached therein is consistent with the language of R.C. 4117.09 and 4117.14(E), as well as numerous federal cases interpreting federal labor law.
Federal courts, applying Section 185(A), Title 29, U.S.Code, Section 301 of the Federal Labor Management Relations Act, have allowed employees to bring suits to enforce arbitration awards, at times contrasting the distinction between actions to enforce an arbitration award and those to vacate an arbitration award.
While we recognize that the language of Section 185(A), Title29, U.S.Code, is not identical to that of R.C. 4117.09, the factors enunciated in the federal cases are persuasive herein. Construing these policy considerations with the language of R.C. 4117.09 and 4117.14(E) stated above, we find that under those sections of R.C. Chapter 4117, plaintiff has standing to enforce the arbitration award rendered in his favor as a result of the actions of the union in the grievance procedure, especially in the absence of union objection to plaintiff's action.
Further, given the similarity in language between R.C. 2711.09 (party to the arbitration) and the pertinent sections of R.C. Chapter 4117 (party to the agreement), a finding of standing under the latter supports standing under the former. Indeed plaintiff was the real party in interest to the arbitration. Id.