CREATIVE GRIEVANCE REMEDIES
One of the criticisms that can be leveled against most unions is that they often file grievances that fail to pursue all the potential remedies an employee is due. To put it more bluntly, they are letting an agency off too lightly. As we see it, when agencies get hit with extensive remedy orders they are less likely to fight similar grievances all the way in the future; they start looking for early settlements. So, we have devoted more than a few lines of print to remedies, e.g., Grievance Strategy Issues (Remedies). We just came across an EEOC decision which went to great lengths to give the employee all the remedies she was entitled to, and we want to pass along an excerpt of the case so you can see all the corrective actions that are possible and legal when you include an alleged EEO violation in your grievance. EEOC wrote as follows, but we added the underlining:
Within 60 days from the date this decision is issued, the Agency shall award Complainant backpay with interest, for the period beginning on December 3, 2017, through the date the Agency reinstates Complainant to the position she held at the Richmond VAMC or a substantially equivalent position. The backpay shall be computed in the manner prescribed by 5 C.F.R. § 550.805. The Agency shall also award and restore all other fringe benefits (i.e., sick and annual leave, health and life insurance) that Complainant would have earned during the backpay period. If Complainant opts to have her health benefits coverage restored pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 8908(a), then the Agency shall ensure the payments Complainant made for health benefits that were available to her under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) are refunded to her…The Agency shall reimburse Complainant for any tax penalties she incurs as a result of the one-time, lump sum remuneration of her backpay. Complainant is also entitled to any fees incurred to obtain such calculation, such as an accountant’s or tax preparer’s fees.
Within 60 days from the date this decision is issued, the Agency shall pay Complainant $1,937.86 in pecuniary compensatory damages and $62,750.00 in nonpecuniary compensatory damages Within 60 days from the date this decision is issued, the Agency shall pay Complainant $450,882.80 in attorney’s fees, $2,526.00 in expert witness fees, and $2,646.50 in costs.
We counted 13 distinct remedies without even addressing retroactive overtime, awards, retirement and TSP contributions. Be sure to think aggressively when identifying remedies you want. See Debbi V., v. Denis R. McDonough, Sec’t’y, Dep’t. of Veterans Affairs, EEOC No. 2021000890 (2022)