Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
Can management deny administrative nurses’ requests to change their work schedule to a compressed work schedule using U.S. Code 7422?
I assume your question inquires as to whether the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs has the authority to deny administrative nurses, as a group, their request to transition to a compressed work schedule under U.S. Code Title 38 § 7422. Title 38 §§ 7421-22 grant the Secretary the authority to prescribe by regulation “the hours and conditions of employment” of a number of different medical personnel, including “registered nurses,” subject to collective bargaining agreements.
It is safe to assume, then, if there is no existing collective bargaining agreement which curtails the Secretary’s authority under Title 38 § 7421 with respect to registered nurses, that the Secretary may deny the request of registered nurses to transition to a compressed work schedule. If “administrative nurses” are considered within the umbrella term “registered nurses” at the Veterans Health Administration, then yes, the Secretary may deny a request from the administrative nurses to transition to a compressed work schedule.
However, whether administrative nurses fall within the definition of “registered nurses” is unclear. To make such a determination requires further information not available from your question.
Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.
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