GRIEVING A FAILURE TO MENTOR OR DEVELOP EMPLOYEES
Very few labor agreements or grievances address an employee’s right to career development opportunities. But a new case out of the EEOC suggests that this is a field union reps should think more aggressively about. The Commission upheld an employee’s claim of sex discrimination in how the agency chose to mentor people and detail them into career enhancing situations. To reach that conclusion the EEOC, an arm of the federal government, decided that the denial of career development opportunities can be just as much of an adverse action against an employee as termination or failure to promote. Consequently, union reps stand on firm ground now when they ask to address those issues in negotiations or file a grievance over them. For example, …
What about the employees who reach the top grade of a career ladder job, but have chance to compete for a few additional promotion opportunities? Should the union stay out of that scramble for the few higher graded jobs or try to set up a system that imposes fairness and predictability on how pre-promotion mentoring is conducted or qualification enhancing details are distributed? Or what about how promotion-enhancing assignments or cases are distributed among those at the top of their career ladder? At a minimum, this new EEOC case shows that employees can file and win claims of discrimination if denied what others are given. That gives unions the right to demand information about how those assignments are distributed.
Back when we negotiated term agreements, we kept a box under our desk into which we tossed any case decisions, news stories, data, etc. that suggested new issues to raise at the bargaining table. When it came time to open an agreement, we went through the box to draft proposals. This is one of those cases that union negotiators should take note of. For more details about it check out Ricky S., v. Lloyd J. Austin III, Sec’y, Dep’t of Defense (DLA), EEOC No. 2022001282 (2022)