NAPE/AFSCME member Levi Mahnke, a Social Services Worker for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Fremont, recently prevailed in a grievance.
Levi was disciplined with a three-day suspension without pay after DHHS alleged that he had violated the Time and Attendance Policy. DHHS accused Levi of violating this policy on several different occasions. This was not true. Of the multiple alleged infractions, in all but one instance Levi had been approved for leave.
“Considering the reality of the situation, the three-day suspension felt severe,” Levi said.
In the one instance that Levi was eight minutes late to work, it was because there was an accident on his route to work and he was forced to detour. He gave his supervisor notice of this as soon as he realized he would be late.
NAPE/AFSCME successfully argued that the three-day unpaid suspension violated our union contract because DHHS did not have just cause for all but one incident. Moreover, the discipline failed to consider the nature and severity of the lone eight-minute tardy.
“My union representative made things easy and made me feel like it was possible to do something about the disciplinary action,” he said. “Based on how previous meetings had gone and the general attitude, it was surprising when they turned around a decision in our favor.”
Levi did the right thing by contacting our union right away. Our union contract states that agencies must have just cause for discipline, and this discipline must be appropriate for the nature and severity of the alleged infraction. In Levi’s case, a three day unpaid suspension was inappropriate.
“It’s helpful to have somebody else looking out for you,” he said. “Being a NAPE member takes a lot of worry away, especially in these situations. It’s always worth trying to fight it.”
If you are facing disciplinary action at work, reach out to NAPE right away for help.