More than ten years ago, the Postal Service started a program in which it “reassessed” the duties of its employees and sent many of those with disabilities home without pay, claiming there was “no work available” for them. This practice, targeting as it did the employees who had a disability, has now — after ten years of class action litigation — been found to be discriminatory against those employees under the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (as amended).
One of the law suits this process prompted was Latham v. U. S. Postal Service, a Merit Systems Protection Board case (Docket No. DA-0353-10-0408-I-1, reported as 2012 MSPB 20, issued on 02/24/12) in which WILG (Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group) and NELA (National Employment Lawyers Association), through several of its members including the undersigned and my partner Daniel Goodkin, filed an amicus curiae brief in favor of the affected workers. That case held that the NRP violated various provisions of the union contract and federal regulations about returning partially recovered injured workers to work at the Postal Service, providing them with a reasonable accommodation, etc..
The main law suit challenging the NRP was a class action filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) based on disability discrimination — McConnell v. USPS, EEOC Appeal No. 0720080054. In that case a final decision has been rendered in favor of the injured workers.
If you were a Postal employee whose duties were reassessed under the NRP anytime from May 5, 2006 through July 1, 2011 you can now file an individual claim for monetary damages or other relief. Such claims can include harassment you were subjected to because of the NRP. The deadline for filing these claims is April 12, 2018. The claim must reference EEOC Case No. 520-2010-00280X and Agency No. 4B-140-0062-06. If you think you qualify and have questions about the claim process, you can contact our office and we will provide further information.
NOTE: Regarding administration of the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA), WILG members have recently followed up on our November 2017 meeting with OWCP District Office leadership in San Francisco with a similar meeting at OWCP’s District Office in Jacksonville. We anticipate further meetings of this sort this year, along with our traditional meetings with OWCP national leadership in Washington, DC this Spring.