Labor Representative Cases, Third Quarter of 2010
Getting Your Vacation Time Approved
MEA Senior Labor Relations Representative Gwen Phillips represented an employee who was recently denied vacation time. The employee had initially sent an email in December to notify her supervisor that she would be requesting time off at the end of March. The employee then submitted her leave slip on February 12th.
As a supervisor herself, the employee was aware of her responsibility of ensuring that her staff was aware of, and prepared for her time off. The employee met with her staff to map out a plan and to discuss any potential issues that might arise in her absence. In addition, she created a timetable for her supervisor that showed all projects would be covered while she was on vacation. The employee also scheduled several meetings with her supervisors.
The employee was informed on March 23rd that her vacation request starting on March 29th had been denied. Upon being notified of the issue, Gwen Phillips immediately contacted the employee’s department. Unfortunately, the department was unwilling to reverse the decision of denying the request. Gwen proceeded to contact the City’s Labor Relations Department which concurred with MEA: if the department had intended on denying the leave request, they should have done so at an earlier time. The employee’s department was contacted and the leave request was finally approved.
Posting Work-Related Content on a Personal Networking Site
Recently, an MEA member contacted Labor Relations Representative Brian Balla for representation concerning disciplinary action for an alleged violation of Civil Service Rule XI Section(s) 3 (b), (d), (i). The employee had been working a considerable amount of overtime due to approaching budgetary deadlines. While at work on a Saturday, and in an attempt to lighten the mood, the employee placed non-City related content on his desk and took a photo. The employee then proceeded to complete his work and carry out his responsibilities for the day. Later that afternoon and on his own time, the employee posted the photo to a networking site on the internet.
On Monday morning, the employee was questioned by his supervisor about the incident. He took responsibility for his actions and admitted that he had indeed posted the photo on his personal networking site. Although he had posted it on his own time and with his own personal computer, he realized he had exercised poor judgment by uploading the photo and immediately removed it from his account.
As a result of the posting, the employee received a discipline that Brian argued was too severe for an employee who had an excellent job history. The action was appealed and was eventually reduced to something more appropriate for the infraction committed. The employee was grateful for MEA’s representation but learned a valuable lesson that it is never a good idea to post any work-related content on a personal networking site, including MySpace, Twitter or Facebook.
Welcome to the MEA’s Steward Column
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own”
Choosing to be an MEA steward is both a great honor and a sacrifice, primarily of time. In order to be prepared for a case, and to represent an MEA employee to the best of our abilities, stewards must be willing to invest a great deal of personal time and resources into each case.
We also attend monthly training sessions that enable us to effectively respond to and defend employees’ rights which are enumerated in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Your team of stewards is dedicated to helping you and ensuring that your rights as a City employee are honored and maintained.
Our collective commitment demonstrates the words of Cesar Chavez, “Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” The truth is, when we defend your rights in the workplace, we are also preserving our collective rights. Whether one looks to MEA’s representative staff, leadership, negotiating team, or your stewards, we all have a common resolve—to protect MEA members’ rights as City of San Diego employees.
In future issues of The Viewpoint, we will begin to feature steward cases that will hopefully be of interest to you. It is our goal to make this new section both informative and an avenue to educate employees of their rights that MEA has fought so hard to preserve.