No Heat? You Can Telework!

Image courtesy Business Insider.

Image courtesy Business Insider.

Many of you received an email from facilities and/or your management over the last couple of days about the lack of heat in certain parts of the William Jefferson Clinton North and South buildings. We are told that the heating outage will not be resolved until next week. That means it will get mighty cold in your office and make it uncomfortable or unsafe to work there.

So what can you do?

We recommend that you request telework, and if your telework request is refused by your supervisor, request administrative leave. If that's refused, immediately reach out to us.

EPA is required by our Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to provide a "work environment free from recognized hazards...." The CBA also provides that "[t]he Agency may grant administrative excusal to employees when environmental condition problems ... create unhealthy or unsafe conditions ... such as to ... greatly degrade working in a safe environment...."  See Article 3, Section 13 and Article 23, Section 7.  These unsafe conditions include "unusually hot or cold" conditions, among other things.

Administrative leave is completely appropriate if temperatures in the office drop. Most of us want to keep getting our work done, however, and most intelligent managers want to facilitate that. Therefore, if you request telework, the smart managers will jump at the chance since they know you could otherwise request administrative leave.

Keep in mind, however, that if you do not want to telework and you do not have an approved telework agreement in place, you cannot be forced to telework except in certain narrow circumstances. You also cannot be forced to sign a telework agreement against your will. Telework is voluntary. If you have an approved telework agreement, however, then management can direct you to telework instead of granting you administrative leave.

Outside daytime temperatures are forecast to be below freezing Thursday and Friday, so temperatures in our old, drafty offices could get mighty frigid indeed.

If you're getting resistance from your supervisor, please reach out to one of our officers using the contact information at this link or one of our stewards at this link.