Teamsters Persevere Against Tollway’s Request for Doctor’s Notes

In a decision filed by a Second District Appellate Court judge, Teamsters Local 700 was successful in reinstating an arbitrator’s original award that granted the union’s request to stop Illinois Tollway management from asking members for a doctor’s note after missing one or more days of work.

In December 2013, Local 700 filed a grievance against the Tollway after management required a member to provide a doctor’s note for missing one day of work. Local 700 declared this was a direct violation of the collective bargaining agreement, which states that employees only need to provide a doctor’s note to management after missing more than two consecutive days of work.

In January 2014, an arbitrator issued a ruling that was in favor of the union, stating the Tollway may not require a doctor’s note from an employee missing two days or fewer of work. However, the Tollway appealed the decision, claiming the union hadn’t brought a grievance to management on a specific employee and was arguing a general issue. Therefore, the Tollway didn’t agree that an arbitrator could settle the dispute.

Local 700 appealed and on Sept. 30, 2014, the circuit court agreed with the union that the argument could have been settled by an arbitrator, but found fault with the merits of the original decision. The court claimed the arbitrator redefined the language for the collective bargaining agreement and had added a term to make his case.

Finally, in November 2015, a judge from the Second District of the Appellate Court of Illinois overturned the circuit court’s decision and ruled in favor of the union. Going forward, Tollway management cannot ask employees for a doctor’s note after missing one or two days of work.

“The concept of having to obtain a doctor’s note after missing one day of work is ludicrous,” said Becky Strzechowski, Local 700 President. “This decision should discourage Tollway management from continuing to pursue the courts’ review of previous cases that were won by the Teamsters. This is a big win for Local 700 and our Tollway members.”

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