The Hawaii Labor Relations Board this 7 days will contemplate a scenario involving a general public elementary college principal and vice principal who were being fired in 2018 after they were accused of having sexual relations on campus for the duration of an extramarital affair.
Erin Kusumoto, the former vice principal of Pearl Town Highlands Elementary Faculty, submitted a prohibited apply criticism against the Hawaii Governing administration Workforce Affiliation last yr just after the union refused to consider her situation to arbitration to fight her firing.
She is also separately tough the steps of condition Superintendent of Faculties Christina Kishimoto in the firing simply because Kusumoto contends she was terminated devoid of appropriate cause, and was punished as well seriously.
Kishimoto wrote in Kusumoto’s termination letter that a 2018 investigation found that “there is ample proof to conclude that VP Kusumoto inappropriately engaged in carry out of a sexual mother nature and/or sexual relations with Principal Nakasato on the PCHES campus ahead of, all through and immediately after operate hours.”
The termination letter also concluded Kusumoto inappropriately utilized state amenities and do the job time for personal causes when she “engaged in inappropriate carry out of a sexual mother nature and/or sexual relations” with Principal Michael Nakasato for the duration of DOE perform time. Nakasato was also terminated.
The letter alleged Kusumoto also violated DOE’s Code of Conduct by lying about the affair when DOE officials in the beginning asked her about it. She afterwards admitted to the marriage, in accordance to the criticism submitted with the HLRB on Kusumoto’s behalf.
The allegations came to the notice of DOE officials following Nakasato’s spouse confronted Kusumoto about it at the college in the drop of 2017, and then commonly distributed an e-mail months later on on the condition system that integrated “graphic accusations” the pair had sex on campus through faculty several hours, according to the labor board criticism.
Kusumoto’s attorney, her father Miles Miyamoto, argued in filings just before the HLRB that the investigation by no means created any proof the few experienced sexual intercourse on campus throughout faculty hours, which was the most “egregious” demand in the scenario.
The filing also alleges the e-mail from Nakasato’s spouse accusing Kusumoto and Nakasato of misconduct was a “vicious personal attack” and an incorrect use of the point out electronic mail technique.
The e mail circulated to at least 1,000 folks, and the DOE administration failed to remove it from the procedure even after Kusumoto complained about it, in accordance to the HLRB submitting. The grievance alleges the electronic mail was remaining in the technique since the administration “intended to intimidate (Kusumoto) to not obstacle the DOE in any way.”
Kusumoto’s grievance also alleges the investigation was flawed in a assortment of other approaches, and amounted to an invasion of her privacy.
The submitting contends the affair alone did not induce any on-campus disruption, and cites interviews with lengthy-time workforce at the college who mentioned they did not detect any adjust in the relationship in between the faculty administrators after it began.
“They admitted to getting sexual intercourse on campus, but what they admitted to was soon after hours,” Miyamoto said in an job interview Wednesday.
“Miss Kusumoto’s position has constantly been that she acknowledged that she should really be held accountable for her perform, but her emotion has been that termination was way too excessive of a penalty,” stated Miyamoto. Instead, the division could have suspended or demoted her, he mentioned.
According to the grievance, Kusumoto notified HGEA she was geared up to bear the whole value of combating her firing at arbitration. Miyamoto informed the union he was willing to represent her at no price to the HGEA.
The union to begin with filed a grievance above DOE’s dealing with of the case, but then notified Kusumoto in late 2019 it would not contest the firing at arbitration, according to the prohibited practices complaint. The grievance alleges that was a breach of the union’s obligation to symbolize her in the circumstance.
Randy Perreira, executive director of the Hawaii Authorities Employees Association, stated the union did a thorough assessment of the specifics in advance of selecting how to continue.
“In this distinct circumstance, dependent on the information that we collected on our individual as very well as the thoroughness of the investigation by the Division of Instruction, we created the willpower that there was no advantage to go to arbitration,” he mentioned.
“We trust that by means of the study course of this hearing, it will exhibit that we did not act in an arbitrary fashion, and we gave the challenge because of thing to consider but identified that it did not advantage arbitration as a violation of the deal — that the disciplinary motion taken was justifiable,” Perreira claimed.
A spokeswoman for the DOE declined to comment on the circumstance, saying the section does not go over lively or pending litigation.
The HLRB hearing on the claim from HGEA is scheduled to start Friday early morning.