Administrative Services

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

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Arbitration Decision Summary

The following Arbitration Decisions regarding employee grievances have been summarized for informational use only. Please be advised that none of the decisions in any of these cases are precedent setting.

1999-2000

Laura Cook v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE - Motion to Dismiss) Laura Cook filed a grievance with regards to an alleged violation of Article 10.1 of the Labor Contract by the Department of Health & Human Services. Both parties mutually agreed to have Paul Caffera serve as Arbitrator. The Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss based on the fact that the original grievance form was not filed with the immediate supervisor within the 15-day period allowed by the contract.

The Arbitrator found that the incident took place on or about December 4, 1998, and the grievance was not filed with the Agency until approximately six-weeks later. The Arbitrator's decision was that the grievance was not filed within the time limits set forth in Article 4.5 of the contract, and therefore, the appeal was dismissed.

Faith Jones v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE - Article 20) Faith Jones filed a grievance with regards to a violation of Article 20 of the Labor Contract by the Department of Health & Human Services, by not paying the proper amount of tuition reimbursement. Both parties mutually agreed to have Christine D. Ver Ploug serve as Arbitrator. The appellant was notified that she would receive tuition reimbursement at the rate of 75-percent of the cost. The agency then made payment equal to the cost to attend the University of Nebraska (UNL), rather than the college actually attended.

The Arbitrator found that the contract does not specify between institutions, and the use of UNL's rate is not even mentioned. Even though the Agency's policy states the use of the UNL rates, the Labor Contract shall prevail in situations where an employee is represented by the Union. Therefore, the Arbitrator's decision was that the Agency shall reimburse the Appellant at the rate of the institution attended.

George Thomas v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE – Article 10) George Thomas filed a grievance with regards to a written warning issued by the Department of Health & Human Services. Both parties mutually agreed to have Sharon Imes serve as Arbitrator. The Appellant received the disciplinary action for alleged patient abuse.

The Arbitrator found that the charge made by the Respondent was not substantiated by evidence or by testimony. The Agency failed to prove that the force used was of an abusive nature, and if it was, the co-workers did not report the incident immediately. The decision was to remove the disciplinary action from the personnel file and sustain the appeal.

John Sutin v. Department of Health & Human Services Appeal. (NAPE –10.1) John Sutin filed a grievance when the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) terminated his employment. Both parties mutually agreed to have Hugh Perry serve as Arbitrator. The Respondent invoked the disciplinary action after the Appellant brought a hand gun to the work place. It was the second time that the Appellant committed this infraction.

The Arbitrator found that the disciplinary action was for just cause, but since it took the Agency nearly four months to enact the termination, found that the action was not as serious as the Agency would believe. Since disciplinary action should have been made, the decision was to return the employee to work, but without back pay and benefits.

Martha Fischer v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE - 10.1) Martha Fischer filed a grievance when the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) terminated her employment. Both parties mutually agreed to have Paul Caffera serve as Arbitrator. The Respondent invoked the termination after the Appellant was alleged to have removed an item from the workplace and placed it in her automobile, thereby, perpetrating a theft from the State. The Appellant claimed that she was just borrowing the item overnight.

The Arbitrator found that the disciplinary action was for just cause, but was excessive. The Arbitrator ruled that the discipline should be a written warning and a three-day suspension without pay.

Benjamin Hamata v. Department of Correctional Services. (NAPE - 10.1) Benjamin Hamata filed a grievance when the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) terminated his employment. Both parties mutually agreed to have Paul Caffera serve as Arbitrator. The Appellant was terminated for participating in inappropriate conduct against a co-worker, within the view of inmates. The other co-workers that participated in the action lost their jobs.

The Arbitrator found that the disciplinary action was warranted and that the Appellant had no one to blame for his fate but himself. The appeal was denied and the Agency's decision to terminate the Appellant was upheld.

Gerald Mills v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE - 11.4) Gerald Mills filed a grievance alleging the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) failed to pay the Appellant, and similarly situated employees, the minimum rate of pay at the time of a State Personnel adjustment. The parties mutually agreed to have Christine D. Ver Ploeg serve as Arbitrator. The Respondent claimed that only the Appellant's pay should be questioned, and not the similarly situated employees, since the Union failed to identify the other employees.

The Arbitrator found that the inclusion of all similarly situated employees was in effect, since Section 4.2 of the contract states "Nothing contained herein shall prevent one aggrieved employee from filing on behalf of all others." The Arbitrator further found that Section 11.4 of the contract is clear that the employees are entitled to the minimum permanent rate following the State's salary upgrade. The award was that the Appellant, and all similarly situated employees shall be paid the minimum permanent rate.

Kern Peterson v. Department of Health & Human Services. (NAPE - 10.1) Kern Peterson filed a grievance when the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) demoted him from a Physical Therapist II to a Food Service Worker II. The parties mutually agreed to have Paul Caffera serve as Arbitrator. The Respondent imposed the demotion, which was later modified to a five-day suspension and a six-month probation. The Appellant was alleged to have committed patient abuse by striking a client.

The Arbitrator found the disciplinary action was for just cause, but was excessive, even after it had been reduced from the original demotion. The Arbitrator ruled that the discipline should be a written warning and a six-month probation.