Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eleventh District, Portage
PORTAGE COUNTY BOARD OF DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, Plaintiff-Appellant,
PORTAGE COUNTY EDUCATORS ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, Defendant-Appellee.
Appeal from the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, Case
No. 2016 CV 00470.
J. Habowski, For Plaintiff-Appellant.
Mirkin and Danielle L Murphy, Green, Haines & Sgambati
Co., L.P.A. For Defendant-Appellee.
CYNTHIA WESTCOTT RICE, J.
Appellant, the Portage County Board of Developmental
Disabilities ("Board"), appeals from the judgment
of the Portage County Court of Common Pleas, upholding the
arbitrator's decision in favor of appellee, the Portage
County Educators Association for Developmental Disabilities
("Association"). At issue is whether the arbitrator
exceeded his authority in finding the language in an
employer/employee agreement to be ambiguous thereby requiring
consideration of extrinsic evidence of the practices of other
employees in the office. We hold the trial court did not err.
Jennifer Conwell was an employee of the Board, working as a
registered service specialist. Following a history of
discipline, the Board, Conwell, and the Association, as
Conwell's union representative, entered a Last Chance
Employment Agreement, on September 8, 2014.
As set forth in the agreement, Conwell had three verbal and
three written reprimands from October 2009 to February 2013
for tardiness and "lack of sufficient accrued sick
leave." She was suspended for three days in 2014 for
continued attendance problems. Due to these concerns, the
agreement was entered "as a condition of continuing
The agreement stated that Conwell's "continued
employment is dependent upon her meeting certain conditions *
* * (as described below)" and that failure to meet these
conditions would "result in immediate termination of
employment." Pertinent terms included:
"C. Employee will check in using the computer kiosk by
no later than 8:05 a.m. each workday * * *
"D. Employee will have no more than five (5) occurrences
of arriving late for work (i.e. checking in later than 8:05
a.m. and/or failing to check in on the kiosk) and/or leaving
work early without permission or approval during any
"rolling" six month period * * *
"* * *
"G. There will be no future instances of false or
The Agreement further provided:
"Employer may immediately terminate Employee's
employment for violations of this Agreement. The Union and
Employee waive the right to challenge through the grievance
procedure or other means any termination or other discipline
imposed under the terms of this Agreement, unless otherwise
provided for in law, except Employee may challenge through