But the court cautioned while a court may not enforce

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But, the Court cautioned, while a court may not enforce a collective bargaining agreement that is contrary to public policy, a court's refusal to enforce an arbitrator's interpretation of a collective bargaining agreement “is limited to situations where the contract as interpreted would violate ‘some explicit public policy’ that is ‘well defined and dominant, and is to be ascertained “by reference to the laws and legal precedents and not from general considerations of supposed public interests.”’” Thus, the Court explained, “[t]wo points follow from our decision in W.R. Grace. First, a court may refuse to enforce a collective-bargaining agreement when the specific terms contained in that agreement violate public policy. Second, it is apparent that our decision in that case does not otherwise sanction a broad judicial power to set aside arbitration awards as against public policy. Although we discussed the effect of that award on two broad areas of public policy, our decision turned on our examination of whether the award created any explicit conflict with other “laws and legal precedents” rather than an assessment of “general considerations of supposed public interests.” ... At the very least, an alleged public policy must be properly framed under the approach set out in W.R. Grace, and the violation of such a policy must be clearly shown if an award is not to be enforced. Based on that holding, the Court concluded: [T]he formulation of public policy set out by the Court of Appeals did not comply with the statement that such a policy must be “ascertained ‘by reference to the laws and legal precedents and not from general considerations of supposed public interests.’” ... The Court of Appeals made no attempt to review existing laws and legal precedents in order to demonstrate that they
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Spring 2017 LER 590-E: GOVERNMENT REGULATION II 41 | P a g e establish a “well-defined and dominant” policy against the operation of dangerous machinery while under the influence of drugs. Although certainly such a judgment is firmly rooted in common sense, we explicitly held in W.R. Grace that a formulation of public policy based only on “general considerations of supposed public interests” is not the sort that permits a court to set aside an arbitration award that was entered in accordance with a valid collective-bargaining agreement. The Court further explained that even if the Fifth Circuit’s formulation of public policy was accepted, no violation of that public policy had been shown, because the marijuana found in the employee’s home and car did not establish that his reinstatement violated a public policy against the operation of dangerous machinery by persons actually under the influence of drugs. That conclusion, the Court reasoned, rested on assumptions that were insufficient to support vacating the award and inconsistent with the factual findings made by the arbitrator.
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