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Dane County Department of Administration

Grievance Decision Archive

Under the Employee Benefit Handbook, grievances are controversies between the Employer and any Interested Stakeholder. As part of the Employee Benefit Handbook’s grievance procedure, the Department of Administration provides a dispute resolution process, known as a “Step 3” proceeding. If the Step 3 proceeding does not resolve the dispute, the matter may be referred to an independent hearing officer who will conduct a proceeding of their own.

The Step 3 Decisions and Independent Hearing Officer Decisions listed below stem from their respective proceedings and concern the interpretation or application of the Employee Benefit Handbook.

2020 Grievance Issues and Decisions

Employee Group Email Lists
Summary

Wisconsin law requires the County to treat comparable categories of employees uniformly and to maintain a viewpoint-neutral position on Employee Group membership. The Department of Administration conducted a review of the County's email distribution lists and found the County was providing email distribution lists exclusively for Employee Group Representatives to communicate with only dues paying members in the Employee Group. Because access to these email lists were not uniform across all categories of employees and they did not maintain a viewpoint-neutral position on Employee Group membership, Information Management deleted them.

Employee Group 1871 filed a grievance that these email lists were a reasonable use of the county's email system. Click here for a copy of Employee Group 1871's complaint.

Decision
Greg Brockmeyer, Director of the Department of Administration, decided that allowing Employee Groups to use the county email system to communicate with only those employees in their groups who pay dues conflicts with the County's obligation to treat comparable categories of employees uniformly and to maintain a viewpoint-neutral position on Employee Group membership. Click here for a copy of the decision.

Employee Advocate Manager

Summary
From Dane County Ordinances to Paid Parental Leave and Disability programs as well as the Employee Benefit Handbook and the Administrative Practices Manual, there are many topics where Employees need guidance on what is best for them. For this reason, the Department of Administration reclassified a position in the Department of Human Services that was performing those duties and retitled the position to Employee Advocate Manager.

Employee Group 1871 filed a grievance that this position should be classified in the professionals employee group. Click here for a copy of the complaint.

Decision
Greg Brockmeyer, Director of the Department of Administration, decided that the Employee Group Representative (“EGR”) does not have the ability to challenge the creation and placement of a position in the Management Class. Further, since this position develops and implements management policies, it is appropriately placed in the Manager Employee Group. Click here for a copy of the decision.

Telecommuting Agreements
Summary

As a part of planning to reopen county buildings and facilities, it may be necessary for staff to continue to work from home. Departments were asked to establish telecommuting agreements with their employees who will be telecommuting. Employee Relations developed a sample telecommuting agreement for all Departments to use.

Employee Group Representatives filed a grievance that Telecommuting Agreements alter the terms and conditions of employment. Click here to view a copy of the complaint.

Decision
Greg Brockmeyer denied the grievance for three major reasons. First, non-performance can and does lead to discipline in some cases. The Telecommuting Agreement does not alter either the current process for grieving disciplinary actions or the ability to challenge such decisions when they occur. Second, the Telecommuting Agreement does not prohibit EGR activities as long as they are approved and documented in accordance with the EBH and the APM. Third, the Telecommuting Agreement does not end the ability of ADRC employees to telecommute and the Telecommuting agreement allows for Departments to add additional terms, if necessary. The Department of Human Services is instructed to work with EG 1871 to incorporate any necessary terms into the agreement. Read the decision here.

Influenza Vaccination Requirements
Summary

In 2017, Public Health Madison & Dane County issued a requirement for all public health employees to receive a seasonal influenza vaccination. Employee Group Representatives filed a grievance over this requirement. A decision on that grievance was put on hold and Public Health permitted religious exemptions to the vaccination requirement. In December 2019 Employee Group Representatives filed an additional grievance, requesting that the religious exemption be expanded to included strongly held personal convictions of a secular nature. Click here to read the original complaint. Click here to read the most recent complaint.

Decision
Greg Brockmeyer, Director of the Department of Administration, denied the grievance. The policy requiring a seasonal influenza vaccination is not contained in the Employee Benefit Handbook and it does not directly conflict with any provision. Concerns over discrimination were forwarded to the Office for Equity and Inclusion and Corporation Counsel for an investigation. Click here to read the decision.

Employee Group Activities and Paid Status

Summary
AFSCME represented Employee Groups filed a grievance based on how employees should be compensated for employee group activity. Click here for a copy of the complaint.

Decision
Greg Brockmeyer denied the grievance because state law and Dane County ordinances require a view-point neutral position on employee membership in AFSCME-affliated employee group associations. The County must treat comparable categories of employees uniformly. Employees that choose to join an employee group and employees that choose not to join an employee group must be treated equally. Click here for a copy of the decision.

Prior Grievance Issues and Decisions

Interpreting Dane County Ordinance Ch 18 and Wisconsin Act 10

In 2015, a dispute arose between Dane County and the Dane County Employee Associations. In the spirit of cooperation, the parties presented 15 questions to retired Judge Maryann Sumi and agreed to abide by her opinion. The dispute arose out of the fundamental question of how Dane County should interact with the Associations in light of Act 10. Click here for a copy of the decision.

In December 2019, the Department of Administration asked Corporation Counsel for a legal opinion on how to implement Judge Sumi's opinion. Key questions were: What are permitted activities during work hours that take employees away from their job assignment? What are permitted activities by Employee Group Representatives (“EGRs”) during work hours? And how does the uniformity standard govern the use of county resources?

Corporation Counsel held that in order to ensure uniformity, work-related activities must be interpreted to be limited to those an employee does to fulfill their job description and to participate in civil service activities. During work time, EGRs may engage in only those activities allowed for all employees. Work-related activities do not include Employee Group Association activities that are not also civil service activities because such time away from work duties is not available to all employees. Click here for the Corporation Counsel Opinion.