19:0242(27)AR - VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH and AFGE Local No. 31 -- 1985 FLRAdec AR



[ v19 p242 ]
19:0242(27)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 19 FLRA No. 27
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION
 MEDICAL CENTER,
 CLEVELAND, OHIO
 Activity
 
 and
 
 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT
 EMPLOYEES, LOCAL NO. 31
 Union
 
                                            Case No. O-AR-900
 
                                 DECISION
 
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Roland Strasshofer, Jr. filed by the Agency and the Union /1/
 under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations
 Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
 
    A grievance was filed and submitted to arbitration essentially
 contending that the Activity violated the parties' collective bargaining
 agreement when it failed to select the grievant for promotion.  The
 Arbitrator essentially denied the grievance on the merits, but in
 paragraph 5 of the award ordered as follows:
 
          5.  The Center violated Article 14, Section 2, B, and caused
       the unnecessary continuation of the hearing on July 20, 1984,
       without good cause;  and is therefore ordered to pay the Union the
       sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) in damages, said sum to
       accrue interest at the rate of fourteen percent (14%) per annum if
       not paid within 30 days from the date of this award.
 
    As one of its exceptions, the Agency contends that the award of $1000
 in damages is contrary to law as an award of punitive damages.  The
 Authority agrees.
 
    It is well established that an award of punitive damages is not
 authorized by law against the Federal Government.  Missouri Pacific
 Railroad Co. v. Ault, 256 U.S. 554 (1921);  Painter v. Tennessee Valley
 Authority, 476 F.2d 943 (5th Cir. 1973);  Littleton v. Vitro Corporation
 of America, 130 F.Supp. 774 (N.D. Ala. 1955);  55 Comp.Gen. 564 (1975).
 In terms of this case, the award of $1000 in damages is in no manner
 compensatory, but rather is clearly punitive.  Consequently, this
 portion of the award is deficient as contrary to law, and accordingly,
 the award is modified by striking paragraph 5.  /2/ Issued, Washington,
 D.C., July 22, 1985
                                       Henry B. Frazier III, Acting
                                       Chairman
                                       William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member
                                       FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY
 
 
 
 
 
 
 --------------- FOOTNOTES$ ---------------
 
 
    /1/ The Union's exception was untimely and accordingly is dismissed.
 
 
    /2/ In view of this decision, it is not necessary that the Authority
 address the Agency's other exceptions to this portion of the award
 including the exception