NAPE Steward Nancy Gamboa has worked for DHHS for nearly 32 years, and currently works at the Scottsbluff Customer Service Center. Nancy knows how difficult it can be to get vacation leave approved, so she requested vacation leave for the week of Christmas 2020 a year in advance. Her request was approved, except for Christmas Eve, which would prevent her from taking the entire week off.
Shortly after being “waitlisted” for Christmas Eve, Nancy learned that a co-worker was approved for leave on Christmas Eve, even though he did not make his own request. The approved leave was requested by his wife, who happens to be the Unit Administrator.
Article 14.6 of the NAPE contract states “Vacation leave should be applied for in advance by the employee and may be used only when approved by the Agency Head and/or his/her Designee. Vacation leave may not be unreasonably denied or deferred so that the employee is deprived of vacation rights.”
Nancy reached out to NAPE Contract Administrator Rene Botts and a grievance was filed on Nancy’s behalf. DHHS denied Nancy’s grievance, stating that she was waitlisted and there was a good chance her request would be approved.
Nancy persisted and appealed the grievance. A hearing officer ruled that when DHHS denied Nancy’s vacation request, it violated Article 14.6 of our contract, because the contract does not allow administrators to request leave on behalf of their family members or any other employee. The hearing officer ordered that Nancy’s vacation request for December 24, 2020 be approved.
If you believe your vacation request is unreasonably denied, contact your local steward or reach out to the NAPE office for assistance.