June 8, 1998
Dear J. Runquist et al
Please read my response placed between paragraphs of your letter.
This is a preliminary time limit response.
As soon as I receive the letter of acceptance for my cellulitis workers compensation claim from Mr. Dowdell, OWCP Seattle senior claims examiner, in a few days, I will submit a more detailed response to this proposed action if you request it.
Richard A. Ketter Jr.
DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
PUGET SOUND NAVAL SHIPYARD
1400 FARRAGUT AVENUE
BREMERTON, WASHINGTON 98314-5001
IN REPLY REFER TO:
May 18, 1998
Richard A. Ketter
Code 902/Badge 160073
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
It is proposed that you be removed from the rolls of this Shipyard for excessive unauthorized absence and failure to follow instructions. This is an advance notice of proposed adverse action. If the decision is made to remove you, your removal will be no earlier than 30 calendar days from the date you receive this letter. The basis for this proposal follows:
You have been absent from work frequently since 6 January 1998, and have been absent continuously since 24 March 1998 due to claimed incapacitation for duty. A listing of your absences and leave charges since 6 January 1998 is provided as enclosure (1).
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT
You made several E-mail contacts and calls to report your absences from 6 January through 6 April 1998. However, you have failed to make any contact to report your absence since 6 April 1998, as required by Shipyard instruction and the Negotiated Agreement. A listing of your contacts concerning your absences is provided as enclosure (2)
I have in my possession emails reporting as per agreement with copies to certain people in Code 106 as a back up as Mrs. Curley mentioned several times her phone message service was broken. I requested a phone number for Injured workers area on two occasions but was never given it. Not one time since the injury occurred did Mrs. Curley care about me as an employee or even attempt to contact me to offer assistance except in the form of disciplinary email.
You attribute most of your absences to cellulitis in your leg which you claim resulted from a workplace injury that occurred on 24 December 1997. You reported that injury on 5 January 1998, and were evaluated by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Branch Clinic that day. The Branch Clinic diagnosed a shoulder strain and returned you to work within your existing physical limitations. On 7 April 1998, the Office of Workers Compensation notified you that your claim was accepted for a left shoulder strain, but the medical evidence did not establish that the work incident caused cellulitis of your leg. Your requests for continuation of pay in connection with the cellulitis condition were denied.
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT, I have appealed this decision.
As of 5 June 1998 per phone conversation with Kenneth J. Dowdell, OWCP Seattle senior claims examiner notified that cellulitis claim had been accepted and would follow with a letter in a few days.
You submitted several Applications for Leave for your absences from 6 January 1998 through 4 March 1998. You also submitted notes from your private physician indicating you had cellulitis in your leg during that period of time. However, the medical documentation you provided indicates that you were able to return to light work, and does not provide acceptable justification to support your claims of total incapacitation. You have not provided any Applications for Leave or medical certification for your absences since 4 March 1998, as required by Shipyard instruction and the Negotiated Agreement.
My records show that I have that have submitted applications for Leave with medical certification for all days of my absence since January 5, 1998. I have been under the care of my primary care physician and infectious disease specialist and with home health provider American HomePatient for all the time of my absence for my IV antibiotic therapy.
By enclosure (3), you were granted until 11 May 1998 to provide acceptable medical justification as specified in that letter in support of your absences noted on enclosure (1). You were also instructed to comply with the requirement to provide Applications for Leave with medical certification every two weeks if your absence continued. You were further notified that you were expected to return to work immediately unless you were totally incapacitated for duty. You have failed to provide any Applications for Leave or medical justification, and you have not returned to duty or responded in any way to enclosure (3).
You have failed to provide acceptable medical justification for the following periods of absence and have been charged as absent without leave (AWOL) for these absences:
6 January through 9 February 1998 192 hours
12 February 1998 4 hours*
17 February 1998 4 hours*
23 February 1998 4 hours*
27 February 1998 4 hours*
2 March 1998 4 hours*
9 March through 20 March 1998 80 hours
24 March through present Continuing
My records show that I have submitted applications for Leave with medical certification for all days of my absence since January 5, 1998.
*You were placed under physical restrictions by the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Branch Clinic from 10 February through 5 March 1998 which limited you to four hours of work per day. Therefore, four hours of your eight hour absences on these dates are considered justified.
A review of your past disciplinary record reveals the following:
1/ Reprimand dated 26 January 1998 for Unauthorized Absence and Failure to Follow Instructions.
I was not able to appeal this because of my illness. The reprimand said that Linda Curley consoled me on Dec 24 th for unauthorized absence. Please note that this did not happen. Linda Curley was not at work on that day. I received no consoling for unauthorized absence.
2/ Reprimand dated 4 March 1998 for Unauthorized Absence.
In addition, a review of your entire work history reveals that you were issued a letter on 23 June 1997 concerning your frequent leave use and its potential impact on your employment status. You were also cautioned in that letter concerning unauthorized absence and failure to follow instructions. By letter dated 1 April 1998, you were again cautioned concerning leave request procedures and the impact your attendance could have on your employment.
This was a reprimand for taking Family Leave that was denied me in violation the Family Leave Act. Please note that I was ill during the time of this reprimand and request time to continue appealing this reprimand when I return to work.
You may answer this notice of proposed adverse action both orally and in writing, submit affidavits and other documentary evidence in support of your answer and be represented by an attorney or other person willing to act as your representative. You or your representative may review the material relied on to support the reasons for this notice and you will be allowed a reasonable amount of official time to review the material relied on to support the reasons for this notice, prepare an answer, and secure affidavits if you are otherwise in an active duty status. Arrangements for the official time may be made through your supervisor. To make arrangements to review the material, you may contact Linda Baham, administrative officer, at (360) 476-4976. You may respond to this notice of proposed adverse action to Tom Davies, QA/Planning/Resources Division Head, at (360) 476-4434. Your response must be submitted prior to the close of business no later than ten calendar days from the date you receive this letter.
Consideration will be given to extending this period if you submit a request to Tom Davies stating your reasons for desiring more time. If you do not understand the reasons for this proposed adverse action, contact Linda Baham in Production Resources administration office for further information.
Your rights are summarized by Article 28 of the Negotiated Agreement. A written decision will be issued to you as soon as possible after your response or the expiration of your reply date.
If you return to work you will be carried in a work status during the period of this notice. If you do not return to work, you will be continued in an unauthorized absence status during the period of this notice.
The Bremerton Metal Trades Council, which has exclusive recognition in the Shipyard Unit in which you are employed, will be notified of this action unless you certify in writing to your Personnel Advisor within five (5) days of receipt of this letter that the Council shall not be notified.
(1) Listing of Absences and leave charges
(2) Listing of email or voice contacts for leave purposes
(3) Ltr 12630 Ser 902.2/leb of Apr 30, 1998