On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Burlington County, Docket No. L-2871-11.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges Fisher and Waugh.
Defendant County of Burlington (County) appeals from the Law Division's February 10, 2012 order setting aside an arbitrator's decision in a dispute between the County and plaintiff Police Benevolent Association Local No. 249 (PBA) concerning the County's sick leave policy for employees assigned to the county jail. We affirm.
The parties stipulated to the following in connection with the underlying arbitration:
1. The 2005-2008 Agreement Between the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington and Policeman's Benevolent Association (PBA) Local #249 Correction Officers (Agreement) between the parties provides, at Article VII:
Family and Medical Leave shall be in accordance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (29 U.S.C.A. § 2601 et seq.) and/or the New Jersey Family Leave Act (N.J.S.A. 34:11B-1 et seq.).
2. The Agreement further provides, at Article V. Section K:
If it is reasonably suspected that the employee is abusing the sick leave privilege, the Jail Administrator may require the employee seeking leave to submit proof of illness. If the employee fails to provide proof of illness, the employee shall suffer loss of pay for such time.
3. Approximately, every six (6) months, Warden Cox sends a memo to the President of PBA Local 249 and all supervisors listing those staff members required to submit proof of illness (doctor's note) after each sick day usage at the Jail. The Warden also sends a memo to the individual officer on the list wherein the officer is advised that based on the Jail's findings, it is reasonably suspected that the officer has abused his/her sick leave privileges, the officer is required to submit proof of illness for a period of six months. The memo also states that failure to do so shall result in loss of pay and a potential for discipline.
4. The Burlington County Jail maintains a policy (Section 1083) which provides that "Doctor notes regarding intermittent family leave must be submitted no later than 7 days from the date of return to work or issue will not be accepted." This portion of the policy is applied only to employees on the list of staff members generated by the Warden that are required to submit proof of illness pursuant to the Warden's memo.
5. Officer Ralph West is employed by the County of Burlington as a Corrections Officer, and has been so ...