NAPE Member Veronica DeBlieck is a Social Services Worker at the DHHS Scottsbluff Customer Service Center. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, SSW’s have been assigned mandatory overtime to process the influx of requests for economic assistance. This winter, the mandatory overtime assignments were lifted, and instead, employees were allowed to volunteer for overtime.
Looking forward to an opportunity to earn some extra income, Veronica volunteered to work overtime. Her supervisor, however, denied her request to work overtime, and instead, assigned the work to other employees. Veronica immediately reached out to NAPE for assistance.
Our NAPE contract requires agencies to offer voluntary overtime to all employees in the job classification who normally perform the work. If there are too many volunteers, the overtime will be assigned to the most senior volunteering employees. Veronica was eligible for the overtime assignment, but her supervisor refused to allow her to take the assignment.
A grievance was filed on Veronica’s behalf. DHHS admitted that it failed to follow the contract, but it refused to pay Veronica back wages for the overtime work that she was denied the opportunity to work. A grievance hearing was held, and the hearing officer ruled in Veronica’s favor and ordered her to be paid for the overtime hours that she was entitled, but not allowed, to work.
DHHS appealed the decision to the Nebraska State Personnel Board. After an additional hearing, the State Personnel Board denied the DHHS appeal and ordered DHHS to pay Veronica the back wages she was due for the hours that she volunteered, but was otherwise prohibited from working.
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe that management is not following our contract, be sure to contact us right away for assistance.