An employee asked for 88 hours of advance sick leave due to incapacitation and doctor appointments.  When the agency denied the request, she was given no reason for the decision.  When her representative looked into the matter he found that the employee’s supervisor had forwarded the request to the Assistant Special-Agent-in-Charge (ASAC) and received a hand-written note back denying the request—without any explanation.  When the employee’s rep dug deeper, he found that the ASAC said he merely relied on advice from LR who told him not to approve the request.  LR also made its decision without any recording any basis for it. When the agency tried to explain its actions, it stated that the denial was “due to issues concerning leave;” however, no one could find any record that the employee had been counseled about her leave usage or otherwise penalized. The agency obviously just expected the employee to talk her medicine and not ask any questions. But it got that wrong, too.

The employee filed an EEO complaint because she knew that employees of different protected civil rights classifications had advance sick leave request approved. When this is all the agency could come up with, even the EEO decisions writers at the department level knew that this was wrong. In order to avoid a judgment that they had violated the employee’s civil rights by treating her disparately from others they had to have a “legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for denying” the advance sick leave request. Given that they did not, the managers were found to have violated the law.  The employee was told to look forward to some back pay, compensatory damages, and attorney fees while the involved managers were told to expect 16 hours of retraining in their EEO obligations and possible disciplinary action.  Check out Kandi M., Complainant, v. Jeh Johnson, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), EEOC Appeal No. 0120141615 (2016)

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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