48:0406(38)AR - - HHS, SSA, Baltimore, MD and AFGE, Local 1923 - - 1993 FLRAdec AR - - v48 p406



[ v48 p406 ]
48:0406(38)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


48 FLRA No. 38

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

_____

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

(Agency)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,

LOCAL 1923 AFL-CIO

(Union)

0-AR-2427

_____

DECISION

August 31, 1993

_____

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to an award of Arbitrator Earle William Hockenberry filed by the Union under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. The Agency did not file an opposition to the Union's exceptions.

The Arbitrator sustained, in part, the grievance of an employee contesting the ratings she received in two elements of her performance appraisal and ordered that the Agency reevaluate the grievant's performance. The Union excepts only to the part of the award ordering reevaluation. For the following reasons, we conclude that the Union's exceptions provide no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we will deny the exceptions.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

The grievant, a GS-11 Disability Examiner, received a performance appraisal in which, as relevant here, she was rated as performing at "level 4" in two Generic Job Tasks (GJTs), with an overall rating of "excellent."(*) The grievant asserted that the disputed ratings should be changed to "level 5" and that her overall rating should be raised to "outstanding." The grievance was not resolved and was submitted to arbitration on the following stipulated issue:

Was the [g]rievant, . . . , properly evaluated in GJT 5 and GJT 40? If not, should the designation "N" be used for such GJT's?

Award at 2.

The Arbitrator found that the grievant's supervisor "did not write [the grievant's performance appraisal] with levels in mind. . . . [and] did not show any comparison of actual work, [during grievant's review, instead] choosing to motivate her employees with positive statements." Id. at 3. The Arbitrator also found that the evaluation contained "no further explanation of the rating nor . . . a comparison of examples of actual work performed with the performance standard." Id. at 4. The Arbitrator concluded that the Agency failed to comply with the Agency's Personnel Manual, which, he found, requires that an employee's rating be explained and that an appraisal include a comparison of actual work performed with the performance standard. The Arbitrator stated:

[t]his failure on the part of the supervisor to follow the Personnel Manual is sufficient . . . to constitute procedural error and require that the evaluative process, as to [the] two disputed GJTs, be rerun with modifications to the [g]rievant's rating as may be appropriate. The [Arbitrator] i[s] not persuaded . . . that the appropriate action is to void the level [4] granted, . . . .

Id. at 4. As his award, the Arbitrator directed the Agency to reevaluate the grievant's performance in the two disputed GJTs.

III. Exceptions

The Union "objects to the Arbitrator's direction [that the Agency] reevaluate[]" the grievant's performance. Exceptions at 4. The Union acknowledges that, in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 1122, 34 FLRA 323, 328 (1990) (SSA II), the Authority affirmed arbitral authority to require agencies to reevaluate employee performance. However, the Union argues that application of SSA II is not feasible in this case because "there was no record upon which to base the initial evaluation, and there is no record upon which to perform a reevaluation." Id. at 5. The Union requests the Authority to reconsider the application of SSA II and "its limitation on an Arbitrator in cases such as this." Id. at 7.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

In SSA II the Authority set forth the following two-prong test concerning the remedial authority of arbitrators in performance appraisal cases:

First, an arbitrator must find that management has not applied the established standards or has applied them in violation of law, regulation or a provision of the parties' collective bargaining agreement. If that finding is made, an arbitrator may cancel the grievant's performance appraisal or rating. Second, if the arbitrator is able