APWU Wins Important FMLA Arbitration

The APWU won an important arbitration case on April 18, when Arbitrator Shyam Das ruled that the Postal Service cannot require employees to use forms developed by the Department of Labor (DOL) when they submit certification for leave under the provisions of the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Das’ ruling overturned a Postal Service policy, announced on July 6, 2010, that required employees to use DOL forms. The decision was issued in response to a national-level grievance filed by the APWU on Oct. 4, 2010.

The union vigorously defends employees’ right to use other formats for submitting certification in an effort to protect members’ privacy.  The union notes that medical certification forms created by the DOL in 2009 permit healthcare providers to supply information beyond what is actually required under the law. The Form WH-380-E and WH-380-F allow healthcare providers to state the employee’s medical diagnosis on the form, although they are not required to do so.

The APWU has consistently asserted that an employee’s medical diagnoses are private health information that need not, and are not, required to be stated on the form. For that reason, the APWU has encouraged union members to use forms developed by the APWU.

In the grievance, the union wrote,

“It is the APWU’s position, consistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, applicable Department o Labor (DOL) regulations, the parties’ established accepted past practice (for over 15 years), and the mutual understanding and agreement between the parties at the national level, that (1) employees are not required to use a specific format or form for FMLA certification; (2) employees may use APWU forms for FMLA certification, or any other format or forms that contain the information required under 29 CFR 825.306; and (3) the submission of FMLA certification using DOL WH-380 forms is optional.”

17 thoughts on “APWU Wins Important FMLA Arbitration

  1. Crispy,
    Another point I forgot to mention. the APWU forms had been accepted for close to 15 years before the USPS illegally changed the requirement. If you had read the award you would see that as the main reason the union won the grievance. The law had not changed as far as the forms so why were our forms no longer valid.

  2. Crispy,
    You are wrong on your “NEVER” used to discipline anyone for legit issues. There exists a national level arbitration case that the union lost over 25 years ago that dealt with a woman named Vera Bugg. The arbitrator ruled that even though a person has a legitimate illness, the post office does not have to pay two people to do the job of one. Ms. Bugg got fired and to this day the P.O. still cites that case in arbitration hearings. Don’t try to blame current discipline on the usage of FMLA.

  3. Two things:
    1. The APWU might have won this grievance, but to what end? I understand the diagnoses part might be pushing the envelope on privacy but I can see right now that FMLA requests are going to be denied because the APWU forms don’t spell out enough information as required by the law. So go ahead, use your own form and see what happens. For my part, I always felt that if my boss knew what I was going through, he would be able to understand my situation a little better. Information makes communication and ultimately understanding easier, throwing up “none of your business” roadblocks just serves to foster an atmosphere of distrust. An honest person should have nothing to hide when making a leave request and there is no reason a person should feel shame for a medical condition.

    Utah clerk is right – there is tons of abuse of FMLA out there, thanks be to the Clinton’s for that. Prior to 1993, people actually used to make an effort to get to work or they got fired. They used to make an effort to enlist family help. No more. Now businesses have to employ more dead weight to cover for the dead weight, or they just push the work off on everyone else and still make the bottom line. You tell me which is better – the worker utopia or the high growth/high productivity we had going back decades. You know, we NEVER used to discipline anyone for legit issues they had with their health or with that of a family member.

  4. my doctors refuse to fill out or sign the DOL form. the special form was just more harrassment…next step is all documentation must be notarized by the justice of the peace, whatever they can come up with

  5. come on tim, ask to pay higher dues! after all, they fight for you so aren’t they worth more? you can voluntarily donate over and above your current dues you know.


  7. Who died and will you to be the Custodian of all knowledge? Get in where you fit in. Some insane asylum in Utah is missing a patient.

  8. Utahclerk, until you have a back problem you need to suck on whatever continues to cloud your level of understanding. Its evident someone was careless on their decision to do good parenting and now we are stuck with an embicle. If you’re not injured be grateful. Being hurt and still discriminated against is ridiclious and unacceptble.
    Walk your talk or shut the HELL up.

  9. FMLA is abused buy so many people they have even admitted it to me. I’m so sick of 50 percent of the work force doing all the work. FMLA is suppose to be for serious illnesses and diseases, not if your back is alittle sore or if you have a sneeze, its pure bullshit.

  10. FMLA is abused buy so many people they have even admitted it to me. I’m so sick of 50 percent of the work force doing all the work. FMLA is suppose to be for serious illnessews and diseases not if your back alittie sore or if you have a sneeze, its pure bullshit.

  11. now the union has to pursue a 3+ year battle we experience at our plant…our mdo requires a doctors’ note, for documented fmla cases, if the employee wants to use annual or sick time (wants to get paid)! contract states that we have the right to choose annual, sick, or lwop. this is irregardless if it’s only a few hours…1 day..or whatever, despite the time frame being covered & approved in the fmla documentation!!!

  12. It’s about time, those DOL forms are lengthy. The APWU is only 1 page, 2 at the most. The USPS is only out to make our lives miserable, inside and outside the PO walls. Guess they aren’t happy screwing up what happens inside the PO, they have to mess with our lives outside as well.

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