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County Nurse’s Differential Pay Grievance Was Untimely
LCW Partner Adrianna Guzman and Associate Attorney Ronnie Arenas won a grievance arbitration for a county. The grievance challenged the county’s decision to deny various pay differentials.
The grievant, a registered nurse, requested that the county award her acting, weekend, and nightshift differential pays for shifts worked between April 2012 and May 2014. While the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provided that nurses were entitled to an additional $2.25 per hour for working Friday, Saturday, or Sunday nights, the grievant’s unit was only paid differentials for Saturday and Sunday nights.
The county audited the grievant’s timecards and offered to resolve any errors it made between 2012 and 2014. However, the grievant rejected the offer and requested a 14-year audit of her timecards between 2000 and 2014.
The county argued that because the original grievance only alleged errors between 2012 and 2014, the nurse could not add the time between 2000 and 2011. The county also argued that the grievance was untimely because the MOU required her to file a formal grievance within 10 business days of the MOU violation. Finally, the county argued that the doctrine of laches barred the grievance because the county was prejudiced by the grievant’s delay. By the time the grievance was heard, the county could no longer ascertain when grievant’s shifts had occurred because those records had been destroyed under the county’s document retention policy. Ultimately, the arbitrator agreed with the county’s arguments and concluded that the grievance was untimely.
In evaluating a grievance, always check whether the grievance is timely filed under the applicable grievance procedure. As this victory shows, LCW was able prove that the County was prejudiced by both the grievant’s delay and her attempt to enlarge the scope of the grievance.