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Being Treated with Dignity and Respect

You have the right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace by management officials. NATCA has heard numerous complaints from across the country from employees regarding rude, snide or abusive behavior by supervisors and managers. This is a serious problem as it concerns a basic issue for every person – the right to be treated fairly and courteously at work. Employees have the right to pursue grievances when they believe they are not being treated with dignity and respect.

Under Article 9 of the various NATCA Collective Bargaining Agreements, bargaining unit employees can file a grievance over any matter “…concerning the employment of the employee.” Not being treated with dignity and respect would fall into that category. In addition, FAA’s Human Resources Policy Manual (HRPM) states as part of a manager’s responsibilities that they will “treat their employees with dignity, respect…” as well as adhering to the FAA Model EEO Program. Due to this language, employees can also cite in the grievance a violation of the HRPM Volume 4. The violation is that a disrespectful manager or supervisor is creating a work environment that is improper with their discourteous and/or rude behavior.

However, it is important to remember that such a claim is not a “hostile work environment.” A “hostile work environment” is a legal term that comes under the Equal Employment Opportunity laws and is motivated by discrimination such as race, religion, sex, or national origin. Grievances filed for violations of the Human Resources Manual do not have to meet the EEO violation of “hostile work environment” so this wording should not appear in the grievance.

In order to make a case before a third party regarding a disrespectful or discourteous work environment, an employee will have to build a case over time. The employee will need to keep track of specific instances of rude behavior with the date and specifics of the incident. Employees should also talk to their union representative when each instance of unacceptable behavior takes place so that NATCA can try to fix the problem informally. Even if the problem cannot be resolved, the meetings can be logged to help demonstrate how many times the representative talked with FAA officials about a particular manager/supervisor without success. The Union’s records of those meetings can help support a formal grievance where numerous instances of rude or discourteous behavior have become a pattern of bad treatment at work. This is how employees proved a violation of this nature in a recent case. See AFGE, Local 3509 and SSA, AT-2007-2008 (7/15/08). Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity at work. That is your right.