NAPE/AFSCME member Lori Shelton, a Child Support Enforcement Operations Specialist for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), prevailed in a grievance after she was prohibited from flexing her schedule.
Lori sent an email to her supervisor requesting to flex her work schedule by changing her work hours on a specific day to for a medical appointment. Lori had no trouble flexing time in the past, so it came as a surprise when her supervisor denied the request.
“I was told that other people on my team were abusing flex time, so I wasn’t allowed to use any,” she said. “As soon as I left that conversation, I called my union representative.”
Lori said her supervisor also denied the request on the basis that she could not use flex time when earned leave was available to her. So, to attend her appointment, Lori was forced to use one hour of sick leave.
During the grievance process, NAPE/AFSCME successfully argued that DHHS violated our union contract by unreasonably denying Lori’s request to flex her schedule. But even though Lori prevailed in her grievance, DHHS denied the relief request and refused to reinstate one hour of sick leave, arguing that reinstating Lori’s one hour of leave was not a sanctioned form of relief.
Our union promptly filed another grievance on Lori’s behalf. A Hearing Officer reviewed the facts of the case and ultimately decided that DHHS must restore one hour of sick leave to Lori’s account.
Since she started working for the state a couple of years ago, Lori has learned that nobody is infallible, and having our union in her corner brings her a sense of comfort.
“I really appreciate everything my union representatives have done,” she said. “I know they will always have my back and they will guide me. I definitely encourage everyone to join our union.”
Lori did the right thing by reaching out to her union representative. If you feel your leave request has been unreasonably denied, contact your representative right away.