Henderson was fired for his activities and the state

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Henderson was fired for his activities, and the State Law Enforcement Bargaining Council (SLEBC) filed a grievance on Henderson’s behalf, pursuant to the relevant collective bargaining agreement (CBA). When the grievance was not resolved, it was submitted to binding arbitration pursuant to the CBA. The arbitrator determined that the firing violated the CBA, because, according to the arbitrator, the State Patrol had violated Henderson’s constitutional rights, and did not have “just cause” for terminating his employment under the CBA. The arbitrator ordered that Henderson be reinstated to his previous duties. The State Patrol, pursuant to Nebraska's Uniform Arbitration Act, filed an application in the district court to vacate the award. The district court granted the application to vacate the award, finding that the award violated “a well-defined and dominant public policy of this state.” Henderson and SLEBC appeal. ASSIGNMENT OF ERROR Henderson and SLEBC assign, restated and consolidated, that the district court erred in vacating the arbitrator's award and instead should have confirmed the award. STANDARD OF REVIEW In reviewing a district court’s decision to vacate, modify, or confirm an arbitration award under Nebraska’s Uniform Arbitration Act, an appellate court is obligated to reach a conclusion
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Spring 2017 LER 590-E: GOVERNMENT REGULATION II 38 | P a g e independent of the trial court’s ruling as to questions of law. However, the trial court’s factual findings will not be set aside on appeal unless clearly erroneous. ANALYSIS NATURE AND PRINCIPLES OF ARBITRATION Arbitration is not a judicial proceeding; it is purely a matter of contract. In this case, the CBA between the State Patrol and SLEBC provides that if an employee’s grievance is not satisfactorily resolved, it may be referred to arbitration. The parties in this case do not dispute that Henderson’s grievance was properly submitted to arbitration. Arbitration in Nebraska is governed by the Federal Arbitration Act if it arises from a contract involving interstate commerce; otherwise, it is governed by Nebraska's Uniform Arbitration Act. In this case, there is no claim that the transaction involved interstate commerce, so Nebraska law applies. We note, however, that because the applicable provisions of the Uniform Arbitration Act and the Federal Arbitration Act are similar, we look to federal case law explaining the scope of judicial review of arbitration awards. We have explained that judicial review of an arbitrator's award is severely circumscribed. Appellate review of an arbitrator's award is necessarily limited because “‘to allow full scrutiny of such awards would frustrate the purpose of having arbitration at all—the quick resolution of disputes and the avoidance of the expense and delay associated with litigation.’” Strong deference is due an arbitrative tribunal.
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