A class-action lawsuit filed ten years ago is finally seeing a ruling, with a violation of the Equal Unemployment Opportunity Commission’s standards. An employee who had been injured on the job complained that USPS subjected its employees to a ‘pattern and practice’ of discrimination when she was told that her post-disability assignment was extraneous work and she was escorted off of the premises. This was under the National Reassessment Program, which was launched as a ‘return-to-work’ initiative that would also get rid of jobs that USPS deemed unnecessary or non-essential to their core functions.
USPS fought back against the claim, saying that its actions did not classify as wrongdoing, but internal documents, such as an email from 2010 that congratulated colleagues of a Texas district leader for reducing injured employees on the roll, say otherwise. The email played the song ‘Cripple Creek’ as the district leader said that the goal of reducing injured employees on the roll by 25% had been reached.
IOD (Injured on Duty)employees were not provided with the reasonable accommodations that they had previously been provided, and they were unceremoniously ousted without warning. In one case, an employee with a mild knee injury that prevented standing for long periods of time was given a job as a safety instructor, but under the National Reassessment Program, his role was deemed unnecessary and he was given indefinite leave without pay. The negative sides of the program were exacerbated by a toxic work environment, with employees commenting things like ‘see you at Walmart’, and saying that the rule was ‘past due’.
Employees subjected to this ruling need to proactively file claims to make sure that they get the appropriate payout for their discrimination grievances. The original person to file the claim received attorney’s fees and other ‘individual relief,’ but it is still necessary to actively file to make sure that it is possible to receive this payout.
If you are worried about this happening to you, there are some ways to pad the effect of an injury or illness. USPSdisability.com is a good resource to make sure that some essentials are covered, though the National Reassessment Program may not be relevant for much longer. There are an estimated 130,000 former postal employees who may be affected by this ruling and an anti-discrimination oversight body.