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In the Matter of Arbitration Between :

U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons

U.S. Penitentiary, Atlanta GA and

American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Local C-33, Local-1145


Case Number : FMCS # 0010254

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

Place of Arbitration: United States Penitentiary, Atlanta GA 30315

Grievance filed: 22 March 2000

Date of Award: 24 February 2001

Arbitrator: James E. Giblin

US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001


For the Agency

Paul D. Jessup, Labor Relations Specialist

For the Union

Benjamin Jetter President AFGE

David Bray Correction Officer

There were 9 witnesses called on behalf of the union/grievant

Appeared for both Parties

Willie J. Scott Warden

Dr. Raphael Ramon Clinical Director

Mahmoud Ittayem PA Supervisor


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001




1. Time and Attendance record for Grievant.

2. MEMORANDUM To A. Reyes, HSA, from Rafael Ramon, MD, dated 5 February 2001.


1. Exhibit Book Sections 1 through 6 and MEMORANDUM dated 28 January 2000 from J. Green, MRA, to The supervisor.


Did the Agency Manager,(the supervisor), violate PS 3730.04, Workplace Violence Prevention, Staff, with respect to the Allegations, as detailed in item #6 of the written grievance, dated 22 March 2000?



Section b. The Parties agree that there will be no restraint, harassment, intimidation, reprisal, or any coercion against any


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

employee in the exercise of any employee rights provided in this ..

.Agreement and any other applicable laws, rules, and regulations,

including the right:

1. to bring any matters of personal concern to the attention of

any Management official and other officials of the Executive Branch

of Government, the Congress, and any other authorities. The Parties endorsed the concept that matters of personal concern should be addressed at the lowest possible level; however, this does not

preclude the employee from exercising the above-stated rights.

2. to be treated fairly and equitably in all aspects of personal management;...


The Union and the Employer endorse the philosophy that ~ people are the most valuable resource of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. We believe that every reasonable consideration must be

made by the Union and by the Employer to fulfill the mission of the organization.

This will be achieved in a manner that fosters good communication among all staff, emphasizing concern and sensitivity in working relationships. Respect for the individual will be foremost, whether in the daily routine or during extraordinary conditions. In a spirit of mutual cooperation, the Union and the Employer commit to these principles.

Program Statement Number 3730.04

Date: 17 March 1997

Subject: Workplace Violence Prevention, Staff

...Bureau facilities shall be managed in a manner which permits employees to perform their duties in an environment free from


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

threatening and violent behavior by other employees. Prevention of .staff workplace violence begins with a commitment to treat all employees fairly and with respect, regardless of rank or position. It is expected that all employees will interact in ways which will promote cooperation and mutual respect...

Program Statement Number: 3420.09

Date: 5 February 1999

Subject: Standards of Employee Conduct 2. PROGRAM OBJECTIVES.

a. Employees will conduct themselves in a manner that creates and maintains respect for the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Justice, and the U. S. Government.


The Grievant in this matter is the grievant, a Physician's Assistant at the U.S. Penitentiary in Atlanta.

The grievant claims that he was harassed, bullied, intimidated, and threatened by The supervisor in the performance of his work duties. He claims a violation of Article 6, Rights of the Employees, and Article 36, Human Resource Management. He further claims a violation of Article 20, Sick Leave; his Supervisor failed to grant him sick leave to which he was entitled. The Grievant further states that his Supervisor violated Program Statement Number 3730-04 and Program Statement Number 3428.09, which are Workplace Violence and Standards of Employee Conduct, respectively.

A review of the case involved in this grievance shows that, at its worst, there is a personality conflict. It is a difference of opinion between the Grievant and his Supervisor. The allegations of the


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

Grievant in the grievance which he filed are simply not true.

There is no violation of Article 20, Sick Leave, because all requests for sick leave were subsequently paid and documented by a memo from The supervisor. The Agency will produce attendance records showing leave requested and approval in writing of all such leave requests. The issues in this case go simply to the interpersonal relationship between these two individuals, and it is the Agency's position that there is no basis for this grievance because there are no Contract violations and no violation of Program Statements.


The grievance was properly filed by the Union on 22 March 1999. It was heard and subsequently denied by

Warden Scott on 26 Apri11999. The issue in this grievance is whether the behavior of the Supervisor toward his subordinate the grievant constitutes harassing, intimidating, and bullying behavior. The preamble of the Parties' MASTER AGREEMENT provides that employees are the most valuable resource of the Agency, and Article 36 endorses the philosophy that people are the most valuable resource of the

Federal Bureau of Prisons. It emphasizes concern for the working relationship as well as respect for the individual. The supervisor has, in fact, intimidated and harassed the grievant unnecessarily. He has had a pattern of such behavior, and the Agency has turned a blind eye to his behavior and stated that it is his "culture." The Union insists that his, or anyone's culture, could not justify such rude and intimidating behavior and therefore should not be tolerated.

The supervisor has harassed the grievant about his sick leave and counted him AWOL for days that he should have been paid bona fide sick leave. Although the greivant's AWOLs were eventually reversed, and he was paid, this caused a great deal of distress to the grievant. The MASTER AGREEMENT, in Article 6b, specifically


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

states that all bargaining unit employees have the express right to -

" work in an environment free of intimidating and harassing behavior

by Management toward any Bargaining Unit employee. It is the Union's contention that the environment created by The supervisor has placed a great deal of undue stress on The grievant, and failure to act by the Agency on the grievant's many complaints has made a bad situation worse, and it could further worsen if it is not corrected.


At the end of the presentation of the Parties' cases in chief the Arbitrator and the representatives of the Parties entered into a discussion of the problem which created this grievance. The Warden had called a meeting of the Threat Assessment Team to determine if, in fact, there had been a threat made to the Grievant. This is standard procedure when the Warden receives notice of a threat having been made. A threat was alleged in the grievance of the employee. However, the Threat Assessment Team determined that there was no threat.

This grievance was filed by the grievant because he felt that his Supervisor, had engaged in conduct that was intimidating, harassing, uncooperative, abusive, and unprofessional in his relationship to his subordinate,the grievant. The Grievant had complained, but did not feel that he received an appropriate response, and therefore he filed the instant grievance. The Union called a large number of witnesses on behalf of the Grievant. All of these witnesses complained or knew of the problem about the supervisor's conduct toward the Grievant and even toward themselves. Knowledge of the supervisor's obnoxious behavior existed all of the way up to the Warden's office. If Management used, as alleged, the reason for The supervisor's lack of rapport was the cultural differences between the supervisor and other employees, it is missing the point, and it is not addressing the problem. There is a


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001

very real problem with the conduct of The supervisor in the work force in -: the United States of America in the year 2001, when our employees demand and employers expect, that there be a mutual respect and treatment with dignity between the parties. The supervisor not only seemed to constantly give the Grievant a "hard time" for no reason; other people complained that he did the same thing to them. The supervisor's screaming and loud talking, in front of others, and his violent outbursts cannot be tolerated in today's workplace.

The MASTER AGREEMENT between the Parties and the Program Statements of the Agency are filled with statements of responsibility of the employees and Agency Management toward each other. Contrary to the Agency's position, this is more than a personality conflict, and it appears that most of the allegations in the grievance are true. The sick leave issue has been resolved by payment of sick leave to the employee, which he deserved. The conduct of his Supervisor in the matter just making it difficult was unnecessary, and it was harassment and intimidating, as well as being unprofessional demeanor. Apparently, the Grievant was correct because he was paid, even if the payment was late. I have no disagreement with the Threat Assessment Team in that no threat did exist. Perhaps the Grievant is too sensitive to various attitudes in the workplace, but he certainly has every right to be, from the way he has been treated by his Supervisor .

None of the numerous witnesses that the Union presented are anxious to hurt the supervisor. Rather, they want the situation corrected because his conduct is intolerable in the workplace. Therefore, this Arbitrator discussed with the Parties the following Award, and it was found to be satisfactory to both sides.


US Dept of Justice/Atl Penitentiary

AFGE Locals C-33 & 1145

Date of Arbitration: 8 February 2001


The supervisor will give to the Grievant a personal verbal apology with the supervisor's Supervisor in attendance. The supervisor will also indicate to the employee what he is going to do to prevent further intolerable conduct.

The Agency will provide, as soon as possible, supervisory training for the supervisor, whether it be within the Agency's training scope or through an outside source. He must receive training oriented toward working with others, communications with others, and sensitivity to other peoples' feelings and needs. The supervisor must attend these training sessions on a regular basis, and hopefully he will absorb some of the information provided therein. If he does not correct his conduct, it may result in discipline of the Supervisor.

Date: 24 February 2001


James E. Giblin