Does a Municipality Have the Right to Terminate Employees Who Steal from It or Steal from Others While Working for It ?

In City of Bradford v. Teamsters Local Union No. 110, 901 A.2d 1103 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006), an employee of the City was terminated for violating a provision in the collective bargaining agreement against theft of property after he stole money from a purse found in an open garbage bag while he was collecting garbage. The arbitrator found that the employee committed the theft as charged and conceded that it was a serious offense that typically invokes severe disciplinary action, including removal; nevertheless, the arbitrator considered mitigating circumstances and reinstated the employee. In holding that the arbitrator's award did not satisfy the core function test, this court concluded that because public trust in government is premised in part on the honesty of public employees, no municipality has the power to bargain away its power to terminate employees who steal from the employer itself, or steal from others while working for the employer.