Laredo Sector Border Patrol Agent whose family faced medical & psychological challenges, wins Compassionate Transfer after Local Union invokes arbitration on his behalf
In this case, a Laredo Sector Border Patrol Agent (BPA) requested a Compassionate Transfer due to medical and psychological challenges his family was facing. The Compassionate Transfer request made by the BPA was later denied by Border Patrol Headquarters and the employee was left struggling with the medical and psychological challenges his family was facing.
Local 2455 filed a grievance on the employee’s behalf which later proceeded to an arbitration hearing. At the arbitration hearing, the union provided evidence and testimony on the employee’s behalf. The agency, through its CBP attorneys, attempted to counter the union’s evidence and testimony. Thankfully the arbitrator in this case agreed with the union and the employee was offered a compassionate transfer.
Local 2455 Representatives will continue to represent bargaining unit employees to the best of our abilities.
Please see below for a summary of the case:
AFGE, National Border Patrol Council, Local 2455 and Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Border Patrol, Laredo Sector, (Fed. Arb. 02/26/18).
Arbitrator Michael Anthony Marr concluded that a grievant whose wife and child were facing medical/psychological challenges was entitled to a compassionate transfer. He ordered the agency not to retaliate against the grievant due to this case.
WHAT IT MEANS:
An agency’s determination regarding a request for a compassionate transfer may be overcome when the evidence weighs in favor of the transfer. The agency doctor who recommended against the transfer appeared to base her opinion upon only the child’s condition, not the wife’s, and this opinion was outweighed by that of four other witnesses who were personally familiar with the family and supported the transfer.
The grievant, a Border Patrol agent, had a child and a wife with medical and psychological challenges. He requested a compassionate transfer from Laredo, Texas — where there was no appropriate medical care facility — to upstate New York, where the couple’s extended family offered a greater “support structure.”
The agency denied the request for a compassionate transfer, maintaining that the circumstances didn’t constitute the required “dire emergency.” The arbitrator observed that the agency doctor who recommended against the transfer appeared to base her opinion upon only the child’s condition, and didn’t address the grievant’s wife’s needs.
Furthermore, while the agency doctor wasn’t personally familiar with the grievant’s family, four other witnesses who were — a doctor, pediatrician, and two supervisors within the grievant’s chain of command — supported the transfer. Weighing the relevant testimonies, the arbitrator concluded that the grievant was entitled to a compassionate transfer.
The arbitrator found “disconcerting” the fact that the agency had no definition for the term “dire emergency,” upon which compassionate transfers were based.