Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Arbitrator Rules in Omaha Member’s Favor Citing Unfair NDCS Investigation

NAPE/AFSCME member Dennis Taute has been a Food Service Worker at the Omaha Correctional Center for nearly two decades. In those two decades, Dennis has had an unblemished performance history with no prior disciplinary action. That all changed in early 2022, when Dennis was accused of harassment at work.

Dennis immediately denied the allegations and called on his union representatives for assistance. The Department of Correctional Services launched an investigation, and Dennis invoked his right to have a union representative with him during all investigative interviews. Despite our union representatives’ objections that the NDCS Investigator did not complete a fair and impartial investigation as required by our contract, NDCS disciplined Dennis with an unpaid suspension and involuntarily transferred him to another facility. 

At that point, NAPE/AFSCME filed a grievance on Dennis’ behalf, arguing that the investigation was neither fair nor impartial, did not produce evidence of guilt, and, therefore, there was no just cause for disciplinary action. The grievance further alleged that NDCS violated our contract by transferring Dennis to a new facility.

The Department of Correctional Services fought the grievance all the way through a full hearing before an arbitrator. The arbitrator ruled in Dennis’ favor stating, “He did not receive a thorough and impartial investigation.” The arbitrator further found that the complaining witness was not credible, and the arbitrator was critical of the NDCS Investigator stating in his decision that the Investigator was, “a non-credible witness that was evasive and almost defiant when asked even the simplest of questions.”

The arbitrator ordered that Dennis be paid back wages for the period that he was suspended and returned to his original post and schedule assignment at OCC. If you are ever asked to participate in a meeting with management that may lead to disciplinary action, it is your responsibility to request a union representative. 

This case is a prime example of why you should always have a union representative with you for any investigatory meeting. Had Dennis not had his representative with him to be a witness, this case could have had a very different outcome. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at or 402-486-3911.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees