Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

CFS Workers Avoid Discipline After NAPE Provides Representation

NAPE/AFSCME represents hundreds of Child/Family Services Specialists across the state. These employees do vital work to ensure the safety of Nebraska’s most vulnerable children. As part of their work, CFS Specialists have access to sensitive personal information about individuals that are a part of the CFS NFOCUS system. Strict policies are in place to safeguard this confidential and sensitive information. 

In October, one CFS Specialist sent a message in a work Webex chat with the link to an intake on the NFOCUS system, urging all their coworkers to look at it. The link was to one of their former colleague’s intake on the system. This message was inappropriate and a breach of confidentiality. NAPE/AFSCME members should never look at information in any confidential system that they do not have permission or a need to access.

Unfortunately, many of the CFS workers in the chat opened the link since they were not aware of what the link contained. The system tracks employees’ searches, and flagged all these employees for viewing a former colleague’s information, which is prohibited. 

As a result of this situation, multiple employees were suspended without pay from work, and were given a Notice of Allegations, accusing them of inappropriately accessing confidential information for a former coworker. While there was cause to discipline the employee that sent the message, the coworkers that opened the intake had no idea that it was the link to a former colleague. These employees had no ill intent and could not possibly have known they should not have opened the link.

Many of these employees reached out to NAPE/AFSCME for assistance in the disciplinary process. Our field staff represented the employees at their pre-disciplinary meetings, and advocated that these staff should not be punished for the inappropriate behavior of one coworker. All of the NAPE/AFSCME represented were not disciplined, and they had the investigative record removed from their personnel files. If you’re ever being investigated or disciplined, be sure to reach out to NAPE right away for advice and assistance. 

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees