Employer’s Sick Leave Policy Is The Equivalent Of A Reprimand

The Broome County, New York Sheriff’s Department sent a memorandum to some employees stating that it had examined their use of sick leave and was requiring each employee to provide proof of illness for all future sick leave use. The memorandum also stated that the County would impose discipline if employees failed to provide the requisite proof of illness.

The employee’s labor organization, the Broome County Sheriff’s Department Employees, challenged the County’s memorandum through the arbitration process. An arbitrator partially sided with the employees.

The Arbitrator held that the County’s memorandum met “a reasonable description of a written reprimand. Without evidence beyond the statistical evidence the County had accumulated as a reason for disciplining employees for their sick leave use, sick leave could be withheld from an employee who is legitimately eligible for the leave because that employee fits a statistical profile and not because they were ineligible for the leave.”

The Arbitrator did give the County a partial victory. The Arbitrator allowed the County to issue a new memorandum to employees stating that, based on a statistical analysis, the employer suspected the employee abused sick leave and was thus required to provide proof of illness for the following two years.

Broome County, New York, LAIG 6847 (Lawson, 2010).

This article appears in the July 2010 issue