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53:1713(153)AR - - AFGE, Local 2408 and VA Medical Center, San Juan, PR - - 1998 FLRAdec AR - - v53 p1713

[ v53 p1713 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

53 FLRA No. 153





LOCAL 2408










March 31, 1998


Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Donald S. Wasserman and Dale Cabaniss, Members.

Decision by Member Wasserman for the Authority.

This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the clarification of award by Arbitrator Lloyd L. Byars filed by the Union under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and section 2425 of the Authority's Regulations. The Agency filed an opposition, which was untimely filed and has not been considered.(*)

In his initial award, the Arbitrator denied a grievance and found that a reprimand of the grievant for leaving his shift 2.5 hours before it ended, and not reporting for work or requesting leave until 6.25 hours after his next shift began, was issued for just cause. The Union filed exceptions to that award. The Agency filed an opposition.

In American Federation of Government Employees, Local 2408 and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Medical Center, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 52 FLRA 992 (1997), the Authority stated that the failure to follow proper procedures for requesting sick leave would be a proper basis to sustain the Agency's reprimand. However, an agency may not charge and discipline an employee for being absent without leave (AWOL) when he has submitted administratively acceptable evidence of incapacity due to illness or injury. Accordingly, the Authority remanded the case to the parties for submission to the Arbitrator for a clarification of the basis of the award.

The Arbitrator's clarification, in its entirety, is as follows:

The Arbitrator's decision was based on a finding that the Grievant failed to account satisfactorily for his failure to obtain permission, which pursuant to DM&S Supplement MP-5 Part II, Chapter 7, Section 7.10a constitutes an "unauthorized absence" and is grounds for forfeiture of pay. The Arbitrator also found the reprimand warranted pursuant to VHA Supplement, MP-5.

The Union asserts that the clarification "sustained the forfeiture of pay based on AWOL which is contrary to [l]aw." Union submission dated May 30, 1997.

The Arbitrator's clarification states that the basis for the award was the grievant's "fail[ure] to account satisfactorily for his failure to obtain permission" for his absence. Therefore, the Arbitrator sustained the reprimand because the grievant failed to follow proper procedures.

The Union's exceptions to the award denying the grievance are denied.

(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)

*. The Agency's opposition was accompanied by a request for an extension of time and waiver of expired time frame pursuant to section 2429.23 of the Authority's Regulations. The request was not supported by any argument or evidence to show good cause or extraordinary circumstances why it should be granted, as provided in the Regulations. The request therefore is denied.