Reversing a Philadelphia judge, an en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has ruled 4-3 that a Philadelphia Housing Authority employee fired for sexually harassing a co-worker should not have been reinstated by an arbitrator under his union’s collective bargaining agreement.

Philadelphia Housing Authority v. AFSCME District Council 33 raises anew questions concerning to what extent a public entity may “bargain away” its right to fire employees whose misconduct allegedly impinges on its ability to “perform its essential functions.”

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