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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Judge: Prison officer's rights violated

Des Moines RegisterThe Fort Dodge Correctional Facility warden illegally prevented an employee from seeking union representation during questions about his attendance, an administrative law judge has concluded in an order made public Wednesday.

Correctional officer Leonard Willison Jr. suffers from a winter driving phobia that has caused work absences, according to state documents.

Willison had received a written reprimand in March 2010 for unauthorized leave, and Warden James McKinney spoke with him in September 2012 about his attendance, telling him he did not need a union representative with him during the talk, records show.

Willison — an employee at the prison since 1998 and a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees — was given a memo in December noting his excessive use of sick leave in the past year and advising him he would be required to bring a doctor’s note when returning from future absences.

Failure to provide the note would result in progressive discipline, he was warned.

Willison, who was paid $53,894 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, subsequently missed four days of work in January and another on Feb. 1. As a result, the warden asked him to produce doctor’s notes and again told him union representation wasn’t necessary. continue reading...

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