Administrative Services

EMPLOYEE RELATIONS

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Nebraska State Personnel Board Decisions

The following State Personnel Board Decisions regarding employee grievances have been summarized for informational use only.

Fiscal Year 2011-2012

James Brebner v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (RULES) James Brebner filed a grievance after being disciplined with suspension.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules.  The Appellant was disciplined for an allegation of inefficiency, incompetence or gross negligence in the performance of his duties.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did violate Section 273 NAC 14-003.03 of the Rules, and that the discipline imposed was for just cause.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board that the Respondent’s action of placing the appellant upon an unpaid suspension be upheld and that the Appellant’s grievance be denied.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Tanja Nielsen, Appeals 1-6, Carman Rutten, Appeals 1-4, and Colleen Wiedeman, Appeals 1-5 v. Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) The Appellants filed grievances after they were denied the opportunity to work holidays that occurred during their regular work schedule due to work schedule changes made by the Department of Correctional Services.  The State Personnel Board designated Hugh Perry as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with the 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent did violate the Labor Contract when it made temporary changes in the Appellants’ permanent work schedules that were not made to respond to emergency staffing needs or in response to employee requests.  He recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the grievances and that the case should be remanded to the parties with directions for them to jointly figure the appropriate amounts of compensation and to pay the Appellants accordingly.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to uphold the appeal and the case was remanded to the parties with directions for them to jointly figure appropriate compensation and to pay the Appellants.

Stephanie McNichols v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was disciplined in the form of demotion and probation.  At Step 2 of the grievance, the agency agreed the demotion was too harsh and reinstated McNichols to her previous position, but affirmed the decision to impose probation.  The State Personnel Board designated Melanie Whittamore-Mantzios as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.  The Appellant was disciplined in the form of a six months probation for allegedly failing to arrange safety services after having the mother sign a safety plan; failing to obey a directive to make a new safety plan; failing to place narrative information in NFOCUS; and failing to load the safety plan on the system.

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did violate the Labor Contract and that the agency had just cause to impose discipline in the form of probation.  She recommended that the State Personnel Board deny the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Michelle Harms v. Department of Health and Human Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was disciplined in the form of termination for statements and gestures that were disrespectful and insulting about an individual served at the Beatrice State Developmental Center.  The State Personnel Board designated Robert Bartle as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that while the resident was within hearing distance of the offensive behavior, the “zero-tolerance” policy is not applicable as the Respondent failed to prove that the conduct caused any demonstrative harm to the resident.  The Hearing Officer also found that given the Appellant’s lack of prior record of any serious or similar offense, that progressive discipline was not imposed.  He recommended that the State Personnel Board reverse the termination and remand the matter to the agency to reinstate the employment of the Appellant and implement an appropriate discipline that is less than termination. 

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Charles Phillips v. Nebraska State Patrol #2 (RULES) Charles Phillips filed a grievance after the Nebraska State Patrol disciplined him in the form of probation.  The Respondent alleged that the Appellant had violated a Nebraska State Patrol Policy for not reporting his involvement in a domestic disturbance. The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant was not the subject of an ongoing investigation and that discipline was not imposed in good faith and for just cause. The Hearing Officer recommended to the State Personnel Board that the appeal of the Appellant be upheld and that the discipline imposed be reversed and removed from his personnel record.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation.

Luanne Jones v. Department of Health and Human Services Appeal #1 (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was denied a transfer.  The Appellant alleged that it was awarded to someone with less classification seniority.  The Respondent denied the grievance because the Appellant had a break in service, resulting in less classification seniority when using their method of calculating classification seniority.  The State Personnel Board designated Paul Caffera as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent’s method for calculating classification seniority does not violate the Contract and he recommended that the State Personnel Board deny the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Joye Menke v. Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was denied sick leave for not providing substantiation of her illness.  The Appellant alleged that the agency had no reasonable purpose in seeking diagnosis and prognosis information.  The State Personnel Board designated Paul Caffera as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent did not violate the labor contract when it required the Appellant to submit diagnosis and prognosis information to the Agency or when it docked the Appellant’s pay when that information was not provided.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board deny the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Jacqueline Schrotberger v. Department of Roads (RULES) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was denied a promotion.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer to determine whether or not this was a grievable issue, and the hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that there was no credible evidence produced indicating that the Training Coordinator position was filled in violation of established laws, rules, or policies.  He also found that it was an agency appointment and how the position was filled is non-grievable.  He recommended to the State Personnel Board that the grievance be dismissed.

The State Personnel Board accepted the recommendation to dismiss the grievance.

Shawn Kinney v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after his approved vacation leave was revoked due to another employee requesting an emergency medical leave.  The Respondent cancelled the approved vacation leave request because the emergency medical leave put the institution below minimum staffing levels and was therefore an “emergency” situation and was allowed under the contract.  The State Personnel Board designated Robert Bartle as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent violated the labor contract when it required the Appellant to work on his approved vacation day because the situation was not an “unusual situation” and therefore was foreseeable.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Katherine Rea v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after she was told to not report to work on a holiday that was a normally scheduled work day.  This was due to an agency wide directive to staff at minimum staff levels for budgetary reasons, and the Appellant was among the lower seniority employees.  The State Personnel Board designated Terri Weeks as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent did not violate labor contract sections 1.7, 3.1, 23.1, 23.3, 23.5, or 23.6.  The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent violated section 7.2 and M.3.3 and recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the grievance in part and that Rea be awarded back pay as if she had worked on the holiday in question. 

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Jason Hultgrien v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after the agency made a one-time change to his permanent work schedule without 10 days notice and without his approval.  The State Personnel Board designated Terri Weeks as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent did not violate the labor contract when it made the temporary schedule change without 10 days notice as an emergency staffing need existed as provided in Section 7.2.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board deny the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Matthew Huber v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NAPE) The Appellant filed a grievance after he was told to not report to work on a holiday that was a normally scheduled work day.  This was due to an agency wide directive to staff at minimum staff levels for budgetary reasons, and the Appellant was among the lower seniority employees.  The State Personnel Board designated William Morris as Hearing Officer, and the hearing was held in accordance with 2009-2011 State of Nebraska and NAPE/AFSCME Labor Contract.

The Hearing Officer found that the Respondent, in good faith, violated the labor contract in temporarily altering the Appellant’s work schedule for non-emergency budgetary reasons, and the Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the grievance and that Huber be awarded back pay as if he had worked on the holiday in question. 

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation. 

Chris Hobbs v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (Rules) The Appellant filed a grievance after she received a letter of written warning for engaging in workplace harassment and failing to maintain a satisfactory working relationship with the public or other employees.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant was not guilty of workplace harassment or of failure to maintain a satisfactory relationship with the public or other employees.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board uphold the grievance and that the discipline imposed be stricken from her personnel file.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.

Mark Mohr v. Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Appeal #1(Rules) The Appellant filed a grievance after the Department of Health and Human Services disciplined him in the form of demotion.  The Respondent filed a Motion to Dismiss.  The State Personnel Board designated William J. Wood as Hearing Officer, and a Motion to Dismiss Hearing was held in accordance with the Nebraska Classified System Personnel Rules. 

The Hearing Officer found that the Appellant did not file the complete original grievance record at Step 3 within five workdays of receiving the Department of Health and Human Resources Step 2 response, and therefore the State Personnel Board lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.  The Hearing Officer recommended that the State Personnel Board dismiss the grievance.

The State Personnel Board affirmed the recommendation.