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DOE Employee Finally Compensated for Denied Leave

July 09, 2021

Nearly three years after he was denied leave from his employer’s leave sharing program to seek treatment for his cancer diagnosis, Unit 3 member Rodman Moniz received compensation for 30 days leave at his current rate of pay.

“I’m grateful HGEA kept fighting,” said Rodman, an educational assistant at Pearl City High School for 22 years. He’s especially appreciative of HGEA Advocacy Chief Stacy Moniz (no relation), who took his case all the way up to arbitration, and to Union Agents Kai Hopkins and Melanie Pugay for their assistance. The state initially tried to get the case dismissed, but HGEA prevailed on the motion to dismiss and the case continued.

Rodman, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, had applied for leave share, but the state Department of Education denied his request because they said he did not qualify, stating that his “cancer isn’t a terminal or life-threatening illness,” and that he “was not absent from work for 30 consecutive days.”

Rodman continued to go to work to continue to support himself and his family even though he was sick from the chemotherapy. “You’re already battling something, and at the same time you’re panicking that you’re going to lose your medical insurance and not get paid. That was more stressful than the chemo,” he said.

“The people I work with are very supporting and helpful,” he added, noting it was his friends and co-workers who encouraged him to call the union. “They were just as frustrated as I was. My co-workers donated leave to the leave sharing program for me, but I was denied and couldn’t use it.”

Rodman ended treatment in 2019 and is now in remission. Throughout this whole ordeal, he remained positive and he continues to enjoy his job at the school. The HGEA staff who worked with Rodman describe him as an inspiration whose positivity never wavered in the face of his cancer diagnosis and the denials from the DOE.

“I just don’t want anyone else to go through what I did,” Rodman said. “I’m so thankful for HGEA’s help. They fight for you, and they don’t give up.”

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