Suspended Corrections Officers Not Entitled To Accrue Leave Beyond Contract’s Limits

The Michigan Department of Corrections suspended two corrections officers with pay pending investigation into whether they had had sexual contact with inmates. While the officers were on suspension, they continued to accrue annual leave under the terms of the contract. The suspensions lasted long enough that the officers’ accrual of annual leave would have placed them above the “caps” for annual leave contained in the contract.

When the Department refused to credit the officers’ leave accounts with hours over the cap, the Michigan Corrections Organization challenged the Department’s decision through the grievance procedure. An arbitrator rejected the challenge.

The Arbitrator noted that the two officers had been made whole by the Department when they were returned to work with full pay and benefits. The Arbitrator reasoned that “had the suspensions not occurred, the officers would not have been allowed to accumulate leave in excess of the annual leave cap. To allow the excess accumulation would bestow a benefit on the officers not provided employees not placed on suspension.”

Michigan Department of Corrections, LAIG 6667 (Dettman, 2008).

This article appears in the February 2009 issue