3 CIR 11 (1975)


Plaintiff, |
A Political Subdivision, |
Defendant. |


This case arises from a dispute as to the interpretation of the Emergency Leave Policies of the School District of Omaha. These policies are part of the Policies and Regulations of the School District of Omaha which set out the terms, tenure and conditions of the employment of teachers by the School District.

This Court has general jurisdiction of such disputes under Section 48-801, R.R.S. Supp. 1972, which provide:

Industrial dispute shall include any controversy concerning terms, tenure or conditions of employment, or concerning the association or representation of persons in negotiating, fixing, maintaining, changing, or seeking to arrange terms or conditions of employment, or refusal to discuss terms or conditions of employment.

See Springfield-Platteview-La Platte Educational Association v. School District No. 46 of Sarpy County, Nebraska , Case No. 105.

The Plaintiff in this case has the right to involve the jurisdiction of this Court under Section 48-811, R.R.S. 1943, which provides:

Any employer, employee , or labor organization, or the Attorney General of Nebraska on his own initiative or by order of the Governor, when any industrial dispute exists between parties as set forth in Section 48-810, may file a petition with the Court of Industrial Relations invoking its jurisdiction. (Emphasis added.)

The facts of this case were stipulated to between the parties. The facts as stipulated to were as follows:

1. Policy No. 4.16 "Personal Leave" adopted by the Board of Education in June, 1970, as part of the Policies and Regulations of the School District of Omaha, set forth the District's original personal leave of absence policy for teachers.

2. In September, 1972, the Board of Education amended Policy No. 4.16, and retitled it "Emergency Leave." The only amendments which are material to the instant case involved changing all references in the original policy from "Personal Leave" to "Emergency Leave."

3. In addition to the Policies and Regulations of the School District of Omaha, the administration of the School District of Omaha periodically prepares, amends, and distributes a notebook titled "Practices and Procedures" implementing the Regulations of the Board of Education and setting forth the administrative interpretation thereof and the means for complying therewith. Under the heading Section III, General Personnel Policies, at page 26 under the title "Emergency Leave," the Emergency Leave Policy is further explained.

4. On August 27 and 28, 1973, (the date for which Plaintiff made application for Emergency Leave) Policy 4.16 "Emergency Leave" and "Practices and Procedures, Section III 'Emergency Leave'" were in effect.

5. Pamela Kot, Plaintiff, and Velda Hughes, also a teacher with the Omaha Public Schools, graduated from Inter-American University in Salcedo, Mexico on August 23, 1973. They were scheduled to report for duty on the morning of August 27, 1972, the first duty day for the 1973-74 school year.

6. On August 30, 1973, Plaintiff filed Application for Emergency Leave.

7. On September 6, 1973, Dr. Hanna responded by letter to Plaintiff granting her a leave of absence for August 27, 28, and 29 but denying her request for Emergency Leave with pay.

It was further stipulated that the Board position was that under the Personnel Policies, the granting or denying of Emergency Leave was discretionary. The issue before this Court, therefore, is whether the Emergency Leave Rule 5, especially Section 3, can be denied when the teacher meets all of the qualifications of the Rule.

The rule is that Emergency Leave may be granted:

3. to comply with a court summons when it does not involve an instance where the employee has violated the law.

Emergency Leave is limited by its own terms to two days per year. It would be strange, indeed, to hold that the Administrator in applying such a rule could grant the leave to one person and deny such leave to another who was similarly situated. In fact, however, the Board claims that it can by interpretation limit the effect of Section 3 to legal process served in Omaha, Nebraska. There is no basis in the paragraph for such a limitation and that limitation clearly does not apply to any other of the categories of Emergency Leave.

It is clear, therefore, under Section 3 of Rule 5 that the Plaintiff is entitled to Emergency Leave.

Entered June 30, 1975.