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Click here for more information. Protecting rights and facilitating stable relationships among federal agencies, labor organizations, and employees while advancing an effective and efficient government through the administration of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute. This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on exceptions to the fotm decision of the Administrative Law Judge filed by the General Counsel.
The complaint alleges that the Respondent violated section a 12 and 4 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute the Statute by lowering an employee’s performance appraisal scores because of the employee’s protected ad.
Upon consideration of the Judge’s decision, the GC’s exceptions, and the entire record, we adopt the Judge’s findings, conclusions, and recommended Order. Accordingly, we dismiss the complaint. The General Counsel has undertaken the difficult task of showing that an employee’s performance appraisal ratings were lowered because of her protected fkrm. The unfair labor practice complaint alleges that employee Sharon Richardson’s supervisor, Georgia Fallaw, lowered the numerical ratings on seven out of nine Manner of 860aa Appraisal Factors from the ratings Fallaw had given her the previous year on Richardson’s performance for the period of April 1, to March 31, because Richardson engaged in these activities.
Such conduct, as sf in the complaint, violated sections a 12 and 4 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute the Statute.
Respondent’s answer denies that the individual ratings were lowered because of Richardson’s protected activities and that it committed the alleged unfair labor practices.
Counsel for the General Counsel and for Respondent filed post-hearing briefs. Her occupational status within that 680a title is “aircraft structural repair technician. Her military status is that of Technical Sergeant, and her job title is “aircraft structural maintenance journeyman” G.
She must maintain her military position in order to retain her civilian job. Richardson’s civilian and military positions require substantially the same skills and functions. Since OctoberGeorgia Fallaw has been Richardson’s first-line supervisor on the civilian side, for performance appraisal purposes. After Fallaw assumed that position, other supervisors below her in the chain of command worked with Richardson on a day-to-day basis. Fallaw is also Richardson’s second-level supervisor with respect to her military position.
AT-CA, involving the same parties as the instant case. As the presiding judge in Case No. Exceptions and cross-exceptions to that Decision have been filed, and the case is pending before the Authority. However, there were no exceptions to the findings quoted above, and I find it appropriate to take official notice of them for purposes of presenting a more complete picture of the background to the instant case.
Richardson also serves as the elected executive vice-president of the Charging Party the Unionits woman’s coordinator, and its shop steward for the “Fabrication Flight” plant. Richardson acts as a primary member on the Union’s Memorandum of Agreement negotiating team and participates in other negotiations around the Charleston Air Force Base.
Richardson provided Fallaw with a copy of her appointment to the negotiating team. As shop steward for Fabrication Flight, Richardson has the authority to file grievances and to represent employees in those grievances. Between October and November 19, the date of the hearing in this case Fallaw was mentioned in several grievances filed by Richardson and in several unfair labor practice charges filed by the Union. Richardson has signed several unfair labor practice charges filed by the Union.
The record does not reveal whether Richardson had a role with respect to any of the unfair labor practice cases involving Fallaw, but she had a role in Case No. AT-CA as mentioned above. Richardson performs her Union duties on official time approved by her immediate work supervisor. She advises the supervisor what she needs the time for and for how long, and completes the standard official time form to account for the time.
The appraisal form used for employees such as Richardson, AF Form A, contains spaces for two sets of ratings. On the front side of the sheet are listed nine “Appraisal Factors. A score of is in what [ v56 p ] is designated as the “Low Range,” is “Central Range,” and is “High Range.
On the reverse side of Form A, space is provided for ratings of “N” Did Not Meet”M” Metor “E” Exceeded for each of the critical and noncritical elements in the appraised employee’s “performance plan.
Air Force Form A Example Bullets
For example, an overall rating of Excellent may be achieved if the employee has “Exceeded” in more than half of the critical elements and has at least “Met” the requirements of all the performance elements. In the two years preceding her first appraisal from Fallaw, Richardson had received overall performance ratings of Excellent and no numerical scores on the appraisal factors below 8.
The appraisal raters had been the immediate supervisors who assigned and evaluated Richardson’s work. At some point a regulatory change required that the person in Flrm position serve as the rating official although she did not work as closely with Richardson as the immediate working-level for did Tr.
On April 16,Richardson received her first performance appraisal from Fallaw. It covered from April 1,to March 31, This was the appraisal immediately preceding the one at issue here. Richardson received an overall rating of “Fully Successful. Richardson and Fallaw met in April to discuss this appraisal. Richardson questioned Fallaw about why was rated “Met” and not “Exceeded” on a critical performance element called “Communications Discipline” G.
Fallaw had written the following as part of her comment in the space provided for substantiation of the rating:.
Air Force Civilian Annual Appraisals
Richardson asked Fallaw if the last sentence had anything to do with her union activity. Fallaw responded that it did not. Richardson then asked her what the comment referred to.
Fallaw said just that there was room for improvement. Richardson then asked how she could exceed in that performance element. Fallaw had no further response. Richardson also asked Fallaw, among other things, whether her “Met” ratings on other performance elements were based on her union activities. Fallaw denied that they were.
She asked Fallaw to explain a written comment on the critical element, “Work Habit Discipline,” in which Fallaw stated that Richardson could “exceed in this area” by “[p]rofessional, courteous, and cooperative interaction forj all coworkers, sections, and fogm language that Fallaw quoted from Richardson’s performance plan.
Fallaw answered that Richardson “would go outside of my chain of firm and not use my chain of command,” but gave Richardson no examples of that conduct Tr. Richardson questioned a rating of “Met” rather than “Exceeded” on a noncritical element called “Extra Duties. Richardson asked Fallaw whether this related to her Union position. Fallaw answered that it did not. On November 13,Fallaw, in her capacity as Richardson’s second-level supervisor on the military side, signed off as the “indorser” on an “Enlisted Performance Report” on Richardson’s performance of her duties as a “TSGT” and aircraft stuctural dorm journeyman G.
This report ac the period of January 1, to September 30, The report has a different format than the civilian side AF Form A. It contains a set of ratings and comments by Msgt.
Harley Wagner, Richardson’s first-line military supervisor and “rater,” and a concurrence, plus additional comments, by Fallaw as the “indorser. Rather than an overall performance rating, the Enlisted Performance Report contains a fork Recommendation.
On March 27,Msgt. Wagner presented Richardson with a “Performance Feedback Worksheet” containing updated notations, in a different format, on performance categories similar to those covered in the Enlisted Performance Report. Instead of fixed categories of ratings, however, this worksheet calls for the rater to place a mark in the appropriate position on a horizontal line representing the individual’s need for improvement in each of the designated performance areas.
Wagner placed marks at the extreme “needs little or no improvement” end of the lines for 21 performance categories and placed marks near the end of the line for 4 other subcategories. The subcategories in which the marks indicate some, although slight, room for improvement were “Timeliness of Work,” “Support for Organizational Activities,” “Initiative,” and “Communication Skills-Written. On April 26,Fallaw gave Richardson her annual appraisal ar the year ending March 31, Richardson retained the same ratings she had received the previous year on each of the “performance elements” and the overall rating of Fully Successful.
However, her numerical scores on seven of the nine “appraisal factors” dropped by one point each. This “lowering” of her score is the basis of the complaint in this case. The scores that dropped were:.
In preparing to rate Richardson for the period, Fallaw sought the input of the working-level supervisors who had observed Richardson most closely. At least two of them, Sergeant Longman, who foorm the work area in which Richardson spent most of her time, and Sergeant Childers, provided Fallaw with recommended appraisals on AF Form A.
Childers’ recommended appraisal form was not available at the time of the hearing and presumably had been destroyed. Longman’s appraisal, which covered the nine months up to Januarygave Richardson an overall performance rating of “Excellent” based on ratings of “Exceeded” on four of the six critical performance elements, compared to three out of six given by Fallaw. Fallaw sought more specific information from both Longman and Childers regarding their recommended appraisals, but received none.
She then fofm to assign her own numerical scores to the “appraisal factors. The score of “7” for “Adaptability to Work” was no higher because of some reports to Fallaw of occasions when Richardson had failed to wear the proper clothing or safety equipment in certain areas where they were required.
860w attributed Richardson’s score of no higher than “7” in “Problem Solving” to her observation, reflected previously in the “Met” rating for “Communications Discipline,” that Richardson often identified problems without offering suggested resolutions. Fallaw explained Richardson’s score of “6” on “Working Relationships” the same as in the previous year with the observation that she got along with some people but “had great difficulty getting fprm with others” and was weak in her sensitivity to fellow workers Tr.
A similar relatively low rating in “Communication” was, according to Fallaw, a result of Richardson’s frequent use of “improper routes or channels” to communicate. Fallaw cited as an example an occasion wf Richardson “tossed” a sheet of paper on Fallaw’s desk, and, when Fallaw asked her what it was about, Richardson “directed” Fallaw to send her for some advanced training and to see Major Daley about it. Fallaw testified that Major Daley had no jurisdiction in that matter. Chief Master Sergeant Wesley Freeman, Fallaw’s reviewing official on this appraisal, testified credibly that Fallaw, in discussing the appraisal for his consideration, cited in connection with “Communication” that Richardson had failed to report safety hazards to her supervisors, as she was required to do, but instead filed safety reports on her own.
Richardson’s “Work Productivity” suffered to some extent, according to Fallaw, from her lack of a sense of urgency with respect to some deadlines. Fallaw cited reports she received from working-level supervisors that they were afraid to put Richardson on jobs that had deadlines.
Richardson’s “Self-Sufficiency,” where she again dropped from “8” to “7,” was limited by a perceived failure to match the enthusiasm and initiative she demonstrated while working in the “composite area” with a similar approach to work required in other areas. The final “appraisal factor” on which Richardson’s score dropped in was “Work Management. She also perceived that Richardson underperformed with respect to facilitating the continuity of work on each of her projects by those replacing her on the next work shift.
Fallaw again held an appraisal interview with Richardson when she gave her the AF Form A for Richardson asked again whether the “Met” ratings on some of the “performance elements” were due to her union activities, vorm Fallaw said again that they were not.
Richardson testified that she then asked how she could exceed in those areas and that Fallaw gave her no response Tr. Fallaw did not recall that such a conversation occurred Tr. Richardson also answered affirmatively to a question about discussing the lowered “appraisal factor” scores ofrm Fallaw Tr.