In Service Employees Intern. Union, Local 1021 v. San Joaquin County (3rd DCA, C066861) December 28, 2011, 2011 WL 6812543, the Court of Appeal found an employee’s retirement does not automatically void, or act as a waiver, of the employee’s contractual right to arbitration under an MOU.
The case arose after an employee was terminated from his job as a craft worker for allegedly stealing recyclable material. He then invoked a provision of the MOU and requested arbitration of the decision to terminate him. The employee also filed for retirement benefits. The County denied the employee’s request for arbitration, and the trial court found for the County by denying the union’s petition to compel arbitration.
On appeal, the County argued once the employee had retired from his job, he was no longer “an employee” under the MOU and had forfeited any rights to arbitration under the MOU. The Court disagreed, holding an employee’s retirement does not automatically void, or act as a waiver, of the employee’s contractual right to arbitration under an MOU. The Court found the employee appropriately invoked his right to arbitration and accordingly reversed the lower court’s denial of the petition to compel arbitration.