Steps Leading to Arbitration

Step One: Conflict

  • Conflict occurs when there is a disagreement regarding an employment contract.
  • An employee breaks the employer’s rules or regulations in an employment contract.
  • An employer breaks the rules or regulations in an employment contract.


Step Two: Investigatory Interview

  • After conflict occurs between an employee and an employer, the employer will conduct an investigatory interview.
  • The purpose of the investigatory interview is to gather as much detailed information as possible about the incident that has caused the conflict.
  • Learn more about how to prepare for an investigatory interview!



Step Three: Letter of Discipline

  • Following the investigatory interview, if the employer decides to discipline the employee, the employer will write a letter of discipline to the employee.
  • In the letter of discipline, the employer will inform the employee of which contract rules and regulations have been violated.
  • The letter of discipline will provide reasons why the employer has chosen disciplinary action.
  • Example of a letter of suspension.
  • Example of a letter of discharge.



Step Four: Grievance

  • If the employee thinks the discipline is unfair, they may file a grievance.
  • A grievance is a written statement that asserts why the employee thinks they have been treated unfairly.
  • Example of a grievance letter.



Step Five: Employer Response

  • The employer will answer the grievance with a written response.
  • The response will state either reduction in discipline or that the discipline will stand.
  • If the CBA or employee handbook has a mediation provision, the employer and employee may use a mediator to attempt resolution of the dispute.
  • Example of an employer response to a grievance.
  • Learn more about mediation!



Step Six: Pre-Arbitration

  • The parties in dispute will typically meet with the arbitrator prior to the arbitration hearing.
  • At the meeting, the arbitrator will discuss the evidence to be submitted.
  • The evidence may include: witness list, potential settlements, discovery, and number of days required for arbitration, etc.
  • Learn more about how to prepare for pre-arbitration!



Step Seven: Arbitration Hearing


Additional Letter Examples