Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Geneva Member Approved for Remote Work Prevails In Grievance

NAPE/AFSCME member Traci Burrell is a Social Service Worker at the DHHS local office in Geneva. Traci is approved to work remotely from her home each Monday through Thursday. Each Friday she is scheduled to work in person in the Geneva office. 

In December, a severe winter storm was forecast for the Geneva area. In anticipation of the storm, Traci worked with her supervisor to get approval to work remotely on a Friday so she would not have to risk driving in inclement weather when she already has all necessary equipment to work from home. Her supervisor approved this request. However, later in the week, a unit manager notified Traci that her approval to work from home was being revoked. The only reason given was that Fridays are not a part of Traci’s approved work from home schedule. Despite her efforts to work with the manager, they would not grant approval to work from home, and instead forced Traci to take leave without pay for the workday. 

Traci reached out to NAPE/AFSCME field staff for assistance, and a grievance was soon filed on her behalf. The grievance alleged a violation of the NAPE/AFSCME contract because denying Traci the ability to work from home was an unreasonable, irresponsible and unfair implementation of DHHS’ emergency weather policy. This policy states that management should allow employees to work from an alternative worksite, including from home, in cases of inclement weather. Because Traci was not allowed to work from home, she was unable to report to work and could not do her job providing important services to Nebraskans. This is an unreasonable implementation of the DHHS policy. 

Eventually, CEO Dannette Smith agreed to submit a request to DAS for Traci to be paid on the day of the snowstorm. The request was approved and Traci was paid for the day. If you need assistance to enforce our contract, please contact us for help right away. 

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees