certained by reference to the laws and legal precedents, not from general considerations of supposed public interests." Ibid. The question is not whether Smith's drug use itself violates public policy, but whether the agreement to reinstate him does so. Pp. 61-63.
(b) A contractual agreement to reinstate Smith with specified conditions does not run contrary to public policy. The District Court correctly articulated the standard set out in W. R. Grace and Misco and applied that standard to reach the right result. The public policy exception is narrow and must satisfy the principles set forth in those cases. Moreover, where two political branches have created a detailed regulatory regime in a specific field, courts should approach with particular caution pleas to divine further public policy in that area. Eastern asserts that a public policy against reinstatement of workers who use drugs can be discerned from an examination of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 and DOT's implementing regulations. However, these expressions of positive law embody not just policies against drug use by employees in safety-sensitive transportation positions and in favor of drug testing, but also include a Testing Act policy favoring rehabilitation of employees who use drugs. And the relevant statutory and regulatory provisions must be read in light of background labor law policy that favors determination of disciplinary questions through arbitration when chosen as a result of labor-management negotiation. See, e. g., California Brewers Assn. v. Bryant, 444 U. S. 598, 608. The award here is not contrary to these several policies, taken together, as it does not condone Smith's conduct or ignore the risk to public safety that drug use by truck drivers may pose, but punishes Smith by placing conditions on his reinstatement. It violates no specific provision of any law or regulation, but is consistent with DOT rules requiring completion of substance-abuse treatment before returning to work and with the Act's driving license suspension requirements and its rehabilitative concerns. Moreover, the fact that Smith is a recidivist is not sufficient to tip the balance in Eastern's favor. Eastern's argument that DOT's withdrawal of a proposed "recidivist" rule leaves open the possibility that discharge is the appropriate penalty for repeat offenders fails because DOT based the withdrawal, not upon a determination that a more severe penalty was needed, but upon a determination to leave in place other remedies. The Court cannot find in the Act, the regulations, or any other law or legal precedent an explicit, well defined, dominant public policy to which the arbitrator's decision runs contrary. Pp. 63-67.
188 F. 3d 501, affirmed.Page: Index Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Next
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