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Klotsche v. Yale University

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

March 7, 2017

ANDREW KLOTSCHE, Plaintiff,
v.
YALE UNIVERSITY and INTERNATIONAL UNION, SECURITY, POLICE AND FIRE PROFESSIONALS OF AMERICA, LOCAL NO. 502, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER (DOCS. 36, 38)

          Geoffrey W. Crawford, Judge United States District Court

         Plaintiff Andrew Klotsche is employed as a security officer by Yale University. He is a member of the International Union, Security, Police and Fire Professionals of America, Local No. 502 (the "Union"). He brings this action against his employer and the Union under section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), 29 U.S.C. § 185. He seeks damages arising from a one-day unpaid suspension imposed by Yale for violations of the rules governing his employment. He alleges that the disciplinary measures imposed upon him violate both the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and the Union's duty of fair representation. (See Am. Compl,, Doc. 17.)

         Facts

         The following facts are drawn from the amended complaint, from the defendants' statement of undisputed facts which were admitted by the plaintiff, and from Mr. Klotsche's deposition transcript. There are few disputed facts. When a fact is disputed, the court has accepted Mr. Klotsche's version of events. The court cites paragraphs from Yale's Statement of Material Facts ("SOF') (Doc. 37), and from the Union's statement (Doc. 38 at 13-16). All statements were admitted, sometimes with disclaimers. (Doc. 39-1, )

         Plaintiff Andrew Klotsche has been employed since 2008 as a Yale University security officer. (Klotsche Dep. 7:24, Doc. 38-2.) His duties include patrolling university properties, responding to lock-out requests and alarms of all kinds, and making certain that gates and lights are functioning. (Klotsche Dep. 9:8-13.) Maintaining a visible security presence on the Yale campus is an important part of the job. (Id.)

         The CBA contemplates a progressive discipline structure.[1] The lowest form of discipline is a verbal warning. (Klotsche Dep. 91:9-14.) The next level of discipline is a written warning. (Id. at 92:13-14.) After a written warning, the next level of discipline is a suspension. (See Id. at 93:9-12.) The CBA states that "[discipline older than eighteen (18) months does not serve as a basis for progressive discipline, except incases of serious misconduct... ." (Doc. 49 at 14.) Nothing in the CBA explicitly requires Yale to treat each infraction separately for the purposes of imposing discipline.

         Mr. Klotsche's disciplinary history at Yale prior to the events giving rise to this case is as follows:

1. 2009 - counseled for being in possession of the master set of keys to Pierson College in violation of department policy.
2. December 2010 - supervisor found Mr. Klotsche reading textbooks and taking notes when he should have been working.
3. April 2011 - counseled for congregating with fellow security officers.
4. September 2011 - verbal warning for being outside the location he was assigned to patrol.
5. August 2011 - counseled concerning proper bike attire.
6. January 9, 2013 - supervisors found him in the basement of Branford College sitting at a table with his jacket and duty belt removed. He had a textbook open and was writing on a pad. Me was in possession of the keys to the residential college in violation of policy. Mr. Klotsche told his supervisor that he was not concerned about being "written up" because he would only receive counseling or a written warning.
7. January 11, 2013 - supervisor found him in die basement of Jonathan Edwards College when he should have been providing a visible, uniformed presence. He was also in ...

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