Department of Sanitation v. Perez


          Employee disciplinary proceeding was brought about by Petitioner, Department of Sanitation pursuant to Section 16-106 of the Administrative Code.  Petitioner charged respondent, a sanitation worker, with being absent without leave and out of residence during supervised sick leave.

          Respondent was charged with being AWOL, for failing to report to work and failing to call in.  Respondent did not deny this charge.  This was respondent’s 13th such absence in a 12 month period. 

          Respondent was charged with being away from the home without authorization while being on supervised sick leave.  Respondent claimed that he was home but, the Court believed that the Investigators testimony, who had gone to respondent’s home to make sure he was at home during his sick leave, was more credible than respondent’s denial. 

          Respondent was charged with: “Charge No. 8475 is sustained in that, … respondent was absent without authorization, in violation of Department rules.”  As well “Charge No. E156891 is sustained in that, … respondent was absent from home during supervised sick leave, without authorization, in violation of sick leave rule.” 

          Respondent had been a sanitation worker since 2000.  Since that time respondent has been disciplined on 10 separate occasions concerning time and leave violations.  He had “unsatisfactory” overall evaluation in 2008 and 2009 due to these violations. 

          Respondent acknowledged his disciplinary issues concerning time and leave and said that it was due to child care difficulties.  In 2009, he filed for hardship and was given a new work shift for nights to alleviate this burden.  He had less absences and had improved his sick leave status to the A category, from the chronic absence or C category. 

          The court found that although there were disciplinary issues in the past, they did not warrant termination.  Since the respondent had reversed a pattern of poor performance in his time and attendance since the commission of the misconduct two years ago. 

          The ALJ therefore recommended a 30 day suspension for the misconduct proven, which should adequately address the need for progressive discipline. Dep’t of Sanitation v. Perez (in PDF),