The Sick Leave Harassment Panel was established on May 11, 1971 due to claims raised by members that they were required to provide information from their doctor without just cause and without being advised that they were suspected of abusing the sick leave benefit.
A supervisor can issue a 90-day Doctor’s Slip Requirement Letter if sick leave abuse is suspected. The letter notifies the member if you are off sick during this 90-day period, a doctor’s note stating that you were treated for an illness or injury is required for you to be eligible for sick leave pay. (Reference Article 34 Mechanic and Related, Fleet Service and Stores Agreement)
If a member feels that the issuance of the 90-day letter was not justified, he has a contractual right to appeal it by requesting a hearing before the Sick Leave Harassment Review Panel. For the member to request a sick leave harassment hearing he must notify his local president in writing as soon as possible after the issuance of the 90-day letter, so his hearing can be scheduled. He should request assistance from the local union representatives in obtaining all the necessary attendance records for reference at the hearing.
The union does not present the case on your behalf, nor does employee relations represent the supervisor at the hearing. You and the supervisor involved are both required to attend the hearing, with each of you testifying on your own behalf. A decision on your appeal will be made based on your testimony and any submitted documentation.
If the Review Panel decides in your favor, an additional day will be added to your sick leave balance and the 90-day Doctor’s Slip Requirement will be rescinded. Should the Review Panel determine the supervisor had adequate grounds for the issuance of the 90-day Doctor’s Slip Requirement Letter, it will remain in effect for the balance of the 90-day period and a sick day will be deducted from your sick leave balance.
Contact your local TWU representatives prior to submitting your request to appeal to ask for their assistance. In general, prior to submitting your request for a SLH hearing to your Local President, you should ask the supervisor who issued the 90-day letter to advise you in writing, the reason why you are suspected of sick leave abuse. Following receipt of this information you should review your C-21 and C-23 Attendance Records (and get copies- for reference) this will help to determine if the supervisor has any grounds for ‘suspected abuse’, or if it is unwarranted harassment. If you decide to go forward with your appeal any doctor’s notes you have concerning your absences or medical treatment would be important evidence on your behalf.
The Sick Leave Harassment Review Panel meets bi-monthly (or as needed) in DFW. The Review Panel is composed of a representative from the TWU ATD and a representative from Employee Relations.