A man fired for falling asleep at the controls of a scrap-metal baling machine in August got his job back after an arbitration ruling this month.
Rick Harrington was running a crushing and baling machine for Great Western Recycling Industries in St. Paul. He was also responsible for the cutoff switch. Coworkers noticed that cans on a conveyor belt were piling up at the entrance to the baler, but the ram that crushes the cans was not operating.
Though company policy states that sleeping on the job may lead to termination, the arbitrator based his decision in part on the fact that a crane operator who fell asleep at the controls less than one year earlier was given a three-day suspension.
The arbitrator did not award back pay or accrued benefits.