Commission Restricts Arbitration Over Alleged Unreasonable Application of Sick Leave Verification Policy

By Ira W. Mintz, Esq.

Township of South Brunswick and AFSCME Council 73, Local 2242

In  P.E.R.C. No. 2013-23, the Commission restrained binding arbitration of a grievance that claimed that sending two police officers to verify the illness of a clerical employee was unreasonable.  In past decisions, the Commission had let the arbitrator determine whether a home visit was conducted for reasons other than implementing a sick leave verification policy or constituted an “egregious or unjustificable violation” of the employee’s privacy.  See, e.g., Borough of Dumont, P.E.R.C. No. 2003-7.  Whether a single home visit met that standard was for the arbitrator to decide.  In this decision, although the Commission questioned the reasoning of the Township’s decision to send two police officers from South Brunswick to West Windsor to verify the employee’s sick leave, the Commission  nonetheless would not permit an arbitrator to determine whether the Township’s action was unreasonable.

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