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Membership in OPEA takes on new significance when a member is accused of wrongdoing, which is an enormous blow to an employee’s morale and self-esteem. These accusations are even more devastating when the employee has no one to turn to for help, and fighting them can take months and cost thousands of dollars. But if you are an OPEA member, you will have the Association’s Advocacy Services staff in your corner from the beginning.
Fighting accusations of wrongdoing usually costs from $3,000 to $8,000. But for OPEA members, this cost is included in their membership dues. In addition to representing members in crisis, the Advocacy Services staff answers thousands of requests from members each year. OPEA believes in preventing work-related problems by providing members with the information they need to protect their rights.
OPEA offers its members the peace of mind of having an experienced, professional staff available to answer their questions about their employment rights. Solid, real-world experience allows the Advocacy services staff to help with:
Many employees are shocked when they find out they are being investigated by their agency. They have many questions about their rights and their obligations to the agency, and OPEA is there to answer their questions and help as needed.
State employees often face issues that could adversely affect their employment. Many of these issues – promotions, classification, discipline, leave, discrimination and other matters – are addressed through the internal agency grievance process, which can be intimidating for state employees. The OPEA Advocacy Services staff walks Association members through the process and helps them file their grievance. OPEA has also produced a grievance manual to give you a step-by-step guide through the process.
Suspensions, demotions and terminations can leave state employees in dire financial straits. Those who have been members of OPEA for at least 180 days are eligible to have the OPEA staff help them file their appeal with the Merit Protection Commission. If the Appeals Review Board approves your case, you are eligible to receive free representation before the Oklahoma Merit Protection Commission for appeals concerning suspension, termination or demotion.