As an attorney practicing with the Torkildson, Katz law firm in the area of labor and employment law, for the last 35 years, I am pleased to recommend Ms. Elizabeth Jubin Fujiwara as an effective arbitrator, both under pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements for resolution of statutory and common law claims, as well as for disputes involving “just cause” discipline/termination cases under negotiated labor/management collective bargaining agreements.
In the past, our firm has retained Ms. Fujiwara to conduct independent investigations of discrimination claims in the workplace, where a more objective approach to the investigation by an expert from the outside was deemed appropriate under the circumstances. Ms. Fujiwara was very focused in her investigation, skillful at eliciting facts from those interviewed, and adept at assessing the credibility of the alleged perpetrator, complainant, and any other persons with knowledge of the events. Her factual findings and determinations were trenchant and her recommendations as to the appropriate remedial actions to be taken were, in large part, followed with effective outcomes. Based on our positive experience and confidence in her analytical abilities, our firm, as counsel to an outer island employer, last year proposed to union counsel that the parties select Ms. Fujiwara to arbitrate a case involving a termination of a unionized employee for serious house rules and policy violations.
Her selection was also driven by the prevailing concern over the retirements of the “old guard” of arbitrators, and the dearth of new and younger Hawaii-based arbitrators with expertise in this specialized area, who possess the appeal and general acceptability to both labor and management. Arbitrator Fujiwara maintained good control of the hearings, ruled on evidentiary issues with rulings which by and large were acceptable to the objecting party, and was fully up to speed on the unique “law of the shop” arising under collective bargaining agreements. She availed herself of outside arbitration law treatises and past arbitration decisions, and took the time to fully research the issues as they arose. She imposed deadlines that were reasonable, issued her decision in a timely manner, and her ultimate award did not present an unpalatable surprise to either side – an important consideration in the labor/management world, where unlike most adversarial proceedings, the two sides must, in spite of a hard-fought arbitration proceeding, continue their on-going relationship, in the interests of both the workers’ welfare and the employer’s business.
Accordingly, I can certainly recommend Arbitrator Fujiwara as an arbitrator in the future.
Very truly yours,
TORKILDSON, KATZ, MOORE, HETHERINGTON & HARRIS
Attorneys At Law, A Law Corporation
ERNEST C. MOORE III
TORKILDSON, KATZ, MOORE,
HETHERINGTON & HARRIS
ATTORNEYS AT LAW, A LAW CORPORATION
700 BISHOP STREET, 15TH FLOOR
HONOLULU, HAWAII 96813-4187
TELEPHONE (808) 523-6000 FACSIMILE (808) 523-6001
ERNEST C. MOORE III
May 19, 2009