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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

Medical Note Order

Local 685 members have been subjected to orders from the Department related to Medical Notes. Some of the issues have been addressed, but others, especially the form insubordination notices, are a huge issue. From all the information we have gathered from members and Department sources, we have the following information:

First, your health and safety is your Executive Board’s primary focus. While we all are committed to meeting staffing requirements, it cannot come at the expense of members’ health and safety. With that in mind, we have already communicated our objections to this latest round of orders at the highest Department levels.

We also want to provide you with as much information as possible to help you navigate this latest round of orders. We have cleared up the false information that was circulated last Wednesday afternoon by a Supervising Deputy Probation Officer. After we raised objections, AB 109 Bureau Chief Jennifer Kaufman issued a clarifying Email Memo that made clear that if you are calling out due to illness, you do not need to report for an Interactive Process Meeting (IPM).

The most recent rash of direct orders to work in a living unit has apparently arisen out of an emergency general order (which we have not seen) from Interim Chief Viera Rosa to all sworn officers (DPOs, SDPOs, Directors, Senior Directors, and Bureau Chiefs) ordering everyone to work at Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall. Specifically, absent any obvious and visible physical disability, Officers will be assigned into a unit. All trained Officers will be provided with OC Spray.

Prior to this new order, Local 685 had already filed several Group Grievances challenging the emergency and the mandatory reassignments and we are expediting the processing of these grievances. Local 685 has been direct with the Department that its lack of hiring sufficient staff does not constitute any valid emergency. Emergency or no emergency, it does not give the Department the right to put your health and safety at risk by disregarding your valid work restrictions.

So, we all need to be aware of the following categories related to Medical Notes:

Category One: If you are calling out ill due to a common sick ailment (cough, fever, bronchitis, etc.), you DO NOT need to report for an IPM. If you are experiencing a “cowboy” Director or Supervisor, refer them to BC Kaufman’s July 27, 2023, email (Subject Overtime).

Category Two: If you have an existing light duty, temporary, or permanent work restriction medical note with a completed IPM, make sure you have your last IPM with the work restrictions listed. If any of these work restrictions prevent you from the assigned work direction, raise it with the Supervisor, Director, or Superintendent. We have received information that the Department is still deploying work limited officers but is advising them that they do not need to perform any restraints or activities that conflict with their work limitations. Local 685 believes that this direction violates your IPM restrictions and places you in an unsafe posture. Article 12 of our Memorandum of Understanding provides for your safety and allows for members to submit any safety issue in writing to your Steward or to the Facility Director. Click here to read Article 12.

Make sure you email a copy of your written safety issue to Local 685 so that we can add it to a Grievance General in Character that your Union is filing to ensure that the Department responds to our objections. We are also objecting to any such direction by a Supervisor or Director as it also places your fellow officers in your unit in danger as you will not be available to assist if a restraint issue arises.

Category Three: If you have work restrictions that have not already been discussed in an IPM, the Department is conducting these IPMs at the worksite. Under State law, this IPM must be taken in good faith by the Department. As such, Local 685 is objecting to information we received about some Supervisors or Directors barely looking at medical notes and sending our members into a living unit. Such cursory look at notes violates State law. We are filing a Grievance General in Character related to the global issue that is facing all members. However, each member with a work limitation has an individual right under the State’s Workers’ Compensation (WC) law that is outside of the Local 685 MOU that you can and should raise through your WC attorney. While we are filing a Grievance General in Character objecting to the global overall impacts on members, this is not a substitute for your own individual WC violation (not covered by the MOU) action.

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