An arbitrator agreed with Bonnie Mayfield, a member at Dykema Gossett PLLC, and ruled that a discharged employee should not be returned to the workplace. The 23 page written opinion held that the former employee had been treated fairly. His discharge was consistent with the company’s policies and procedures, despite the former employee’s disagreement with the company’s investigation, discipline, and performance evaluations.
This win was a particularly sweet victory for Bonnie — who demonstrated that the company acted upon ample and legitimate non-discriminatory reasons in discharging the employee — as the arbitrator allowed an ambush witness to testify.
Around the fifth hour of the arbitration, the former employee reached out — supposedly for the first time — to an ambush witness to arrange for his testimony. The arbitrator allowed the testimony of that witness even though the discharged employee had failed to previously identify the witness. In real time while the arbitration was ongoing, at Bonnie’s direction the client’s trial team quickly obtained documentary evidence proving that the company’s reasons for discharging the ambush witness underscored his lack of credibility. Vigorous cross-examination and the documentary evidence showed that he was a biased, disgruntled, former employee who had been discharged for reasons impugning his own credibility and was testifying to help his friend. Members of the client’s trial team were very complimentary of Bonnie’s work and pivoting while under fire, including from the arbitrator, who wanted to push the arbitration along regardless of the need to obtain the documentary evidence related to the ambush witness.