NAPE/AFSCME member Jordan Anderson was recently reinstated with full back pay and benefits after being wrongfully terminated by the Nebraska Department of Labor (DOL).
In May 2023, Jordan was fired from his position as an Unemployment Insurance Adjudicator for the DOL.
“I got no warning and the termination came as a big surprise,” Jordan said. “So, I immediately got in contact with my union representative.”
Jordan was terminated based on allegations that he failed to accept assignments from his supervisor, was inefficient and negligent in the performance of his duties, that he failed to maintain performance expectations, and that he had adversely affected the agency’s performance and function.
Prior to terminating the employment of our union members, our contract guarantees that management must consider previous disciplinary action and the nature and severity of the alleged infractions. The DOL ignored Jordan’s lack of disciplinary history and failed to consider the nature and severity of the alleged infractions, which NAPE/AFSCME argued did not warrant termination.
“That grievance process was stressful,” Jordan said. “But even though it was nerve-racking at times, I talked with my union representative and all of that stress and anxiety settled down.”
The DOL alleged that it had imposed discipline progressively, despite there being no documentation of this in Jordan’s personnel file. The agency suggested that a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) was sufficient evidence that it had applied progressive discipline. However, during the grievance process, NAPE successfully argued that PIPs are not disciplinary action under our negotiated contract.
Contrary to the allegations against him, Jordan took numerous steps to improve his performance, including soliciting feedback from his supervisor and attending a five-day training course.
“I had never been formally disciplined,” he said. “I knew there were concerns but I was doing what I could to improve.”
A hearing officer ruled that Jordan be reinstated with full back wages and benefits. Jordan said that it’s a relief to be back to work, and he’s thankful that our union had his back during this process.
Jordan did the right thing by reaching out to NAPE right away. He encourages every Nebraska State Employee to join our union, even if they think nothing like this could happen to them.
“If I hadn’t joined the union, I wouldn’t have my job back,” he said. “NAPE is a great resource, and I couldn’t have done this alone.”