Nebraska Association
of Public Employees

Norfolk Sisters Unite and Win After Bereavement Leave Denial

Michelle and Briana Arends, both NAPE/AFSCME members at the Norfolk Regional Center, recently prevailed in grievances after their bereavement leave was unreasonably denied.

After the death of their grandmother, the Arends sisters requested five days of bereavement leave, in accordance with our contract. Their requests were only partially granted — both received approval for three days of leave. No reason was given for this denial, and they had no choice but to take two days of leave without pay.

“I had to take that time off without pay because I needed to make sure that I could spend the time I needed with my family,” Michelle said. “After the request was denied, though, both Briana and I talked with our union steward and she steered us in the right direction.”

Michelle and Briana knew they weren’t being treated fairly — and both knew that our union would have their back.

“When you’re supposed to be mourning your loved one, and instead you find yourself digging through the contract to see if you’re even allowed to take the time that you need, that’s when you know things aren’t quite right,” Michelle said. “So, it was well worth my time to fight it and it felt good to know that our union had my back, especially at such a sensitive time.”

Briana said that even though she took two days of unpaid leave in order to spend time with her family, she remained hopeful that she and her sister would prevail in their grievances. The sisters both remarked that they knew contacting their representative was the best thing to do.

“I know that any time I need to ask a question or feel that I’m being treated unjustly, I can go to our union and be listened to and helped,” Briana said. “It’s an amazing resource to have.”

Michelle and Briana were awarded back wages and benefits for the 16 hours of leave they were forced to take without pay.

If you feel your leave request has been unreasonably denied, contact us right away for assistance.

Nebraska Association of
Public Employees