My question involves labor and employment law for the state of: Pa.
I'm trying to get some sort of definition or ruling of "unduly interfere with the operation of the Authority".
I work for a municipality that has its hourly employees represented by a union. I am an officer in the union. Over the years we have had dust-ups with management concerning the granting of vacation leave. Our CBA states that "Vacation shall be granted at the time requested by the employee provided that the said request does not duly interfere with the operation of the Authority". The dust-ups usually concern an employee requesting a vacation day that would result in the employer having to replace that employee and paying overtime to his/her replacement.
Our paid leave situation is a bit convoluted due to a previous HR director who thought that she was the smartest person on the planet. As a result, we have three types of paid leave, vacation, PTO, and personal days - each with different rules concerning how they can be requested/used. So, some types of leave (vacation) are used early in the year and the others are essentially 'kept in reserve'.
So, here's the situation...an employee asked for a vacation day that would require our employer to pay overtime for someone to replace him. They are denying his vacation request BUT they will allow him to use a PTO day. Regardless of which type of leave they grant, it will necessitate paying someone overtime to cover his shift (he works solo on third shift that particular day). The reason that they cite for denying his vacation request is the "undue interference", claiming that paying another employee eight hours overtime is a 'hardship'.
I'd like to resolve this without a grievance but they can't get it through their heads that it's ridiculous to claim that it is a 'hardship' for them to have to pay overtime when granting a vacation day but it's not a problem for them to pay overtime when granting a PTO day for that same day! The real reason that they are denying his request is because some of the PTO days can be taken with a one-hour notice (similar to sick days that we had prior to the aforementioned brilliant HR director). So they pull stunts like this to try to get employees to use up their PTO days before their vacation days so that employees can't save their PTO days until later, toward the end of the year.
Anyway, I'm trying to find a "legal" definition/interpretation of 'unduly interfere with the operation' to present to management to help convince them that their argument will not hold water. Now, if this guy was so valuable that he couldn't be replaced because no one other than him could do the job, or if there was no qualified replacement available to replace him I could agree that it would unduly interfere with the operation. But he is one of seven qualified people on staff, five of which would be available to work overtime that shift. He is a good guy but the operation will not go to pieces because he will miss a shift! I've done some research and the only thing that I have found that comes close is language in the ADA concerning workplace modifications. Is there something out there that I could possibly use?