Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NY Court Refuses To Confirm Arbitration Award Of Jewish Religious Court

In In re Brisman v. Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns & Rockaway, (Sup. Ct. Kings Co. NY, Dec. 18, 2008), a New York state trial court refused to confirm an arbitration award issued by a Bet Din (Jewish religious court) in a dispute between a religious school and a teacher who was terminated after his contract expired. The Bet din had awarded back pay and ordered reinstatement of the teacher with tenure at a set salary. the court held:

The Beth Din's determination ... essentially forces Respondent, an "at will" private employer, to employ Petitioner, who ... has a clear difference in ... religious philosophy from Respondent's administration, for an indefinite tenure. Furthermore, the salary set forth by the Beth Din of $100,000 is arbitrary, unfounded and irrational, as the base salary, as set forth by the expired employment contract, was $54,000....

Secondly, by retaining indefinite jurisdiction, the Beth Din exceeded a specifically enumerated limitation on its authority, as set forth by the parties in their own agreement to arbitrate.

Lastly, the award is violative of public policy. The Beth Din's ruling sets a precedent that will impact and limit the ability of private schools to make and enforce routine employment decisions....

[Thanks to Joel Katz for the lead and to Failed Messiah for posting the opinion.]