The United States Coast Guard has settled with AFGE Local 219 over a charge that the agency had shared sensitive information about an employee and violated his rights and safety.
The employee, who is also an AFGE member, filed a grievance against two people over hiring and merit promotion practices, but the agency shared the grievance with the people the grievance was about. The employee was subsequently confronted by one of the persons he filed the grievance on. That person also made threats against him, his family, and witnesses to the altercation.
The U.S. Coast Guard refused to work with AFGE at every turn, denying it had shared the information even after one of the employees admitted it was disclosed to him. The agency also denied efforts by AFGE to de-escalate the situation, continuing to put the grievant in danger and making a mockery of the right to confidentially file a grievance.
The recently agreed-to settlement requires the Coast Guard to distribute digitally and post in the workplace a notice explaining to employees that they will not interfere with workers’ protected rights, including the dissemination of protected information.
While the original situation never should have happened in the first place and wouldn’t have if the agency had properly observed rules meant to protect workers when filing grievances, it’s a step in the right direction to prevent more needless harm to workers at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the future.
"I am happy to hear the Coast Guard is taking action to ensure our members are comfortable formally reporting workplace problems." said AFGE Local 219 President Mark Panzera. "We expect our concerns to be handled properly and this settlement is a clear display that the Coast Guard takes it seriously."