National Grievance against Office of Civil Rights for Telework Violations

disadvantages-telework-1-1-800x800NTEU has filed a national institutional grievance against HHS, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) over their violation of Articles 4 and 26 of the CBA.

Recently, OCR, Region III issued a Case Letter and Report Protocol instruction. The instruction required employees not physically present in the office (whether due to travel, weather, telework, working vacation or otherwise remote for any other reason) to submit a daily log of every action they performed. OCR did not provide notice, nor did the agency bargain over the change in work procedures.

NTEU alleges that the Instruction violates Articles 4 and 26 of the CBA, the agency’s own telework policy, and the Telework Enhancement Act. Under law, policy, and contract, teleworking employees and non-teleworking employees must be treated the same for purposes of work requirements. There is nothing under law, policy, or contract that permits OCR Region III to require teleworking employees to report their work each telework day. Moreover, the agency’s failure to bargain the change before implementation constitute an unfair labor practice in violation of 5 U.S.C. §§7116(a)(1) and (5).

As a remedy, NTEU has requested that OCR (i) rescind the Case Letter and Report Protocol Remote Work Reports section; (ii) provide a make whole relief to any harmed employees whole; and (iii) grant any other remedies that may be deemed appropriate under law, rule, and regulation.

Not long ago, we settled a similar grievance in our Chapter. I hope this information encourages you to report similar violations to a Union representative.