Over the next couple of weeks PostalReporter.com will be playing catch-up on posting legal cases filed by postal employees via EEOC, MSPB, Federal courts and other government agencies. Two of the cases listed below are updates on EEOC class actions.
The first cases are snippets of EEOs filed by bargaining and non-bargaining postal employees.
A USPS District Manager (DM) “with responsibility for operating her unit within budget” claimed retaliation for prior protected EEO activity. The DM alleged that the monetary award from a previous EEO was counted in the budget for her unit. Management claimed the EEO award was included for the purpose of “evaluating whether her unit was within its budget.” The DM was not made aware of this fact until she was asked at a public meeting why her unit was over budget. The EEOC determined that, as alleged, “the Postal Service’s actions would reasonably deter EEO activity.” (2014)
McConnell EEOC Class Action Still Pending For Postal Employees
In July 2012 EEOC rejected an attempt by USPS to break apart the McConnell class. USPS had filed a motion to redefine the class, and force certain McConnell class members to bring their claims before the Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”). But EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) denied USPS’s motion in its entirety. The AJ held that because the McConnell complaint focused on the USPS National Reassessment Process (NRP), which resulted in some reductions and eliminations of rehabilitation and limited duty positions, the claims belonged in the certified EEOC class action. The AJ noted that USPS’s request would have “resulted in undue delay in justice and unnecessary procedural complications.” After the AJ’s ruling, USPS sought to appeal the ruling to the EEOC Office of Federal Operations. although the EEOC denied the appeal, this case is still moving along at snail’s pace. The issue in this case:
In 2006, Sandra McConnell was reviewed under the NRP in the USPS Western New York District. Ms. McConnell had been working in a rehabilitation modified carrier position for over eight years. However, after the NRP review, Ms. McConnell was stripped of her modified position and ordered to go home with “no work available.”
Ms. McConnell filed a class action discrimination complaint under the Rehabilitation Act on behalf of all USPS workers affected by the NRP. The disability discrimination class action was certified by the EEOC Administrative Judge in 2008. After the USPS appealed that decision, the EEOC again granted certification of the class action in 2010. Sandra McConnell v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Case No. 520-2008-00053X
Edmond Walker was replaced last year as Class Agent by R.J. Pittman in the matter formerly captioned Walker v. Donahoe, EEOC Case No. 541-2008-00188X, and now captioned Pittman v. Donahoe. “Upon the execution of the Pittman Settlement Agreement by all Parties and the Agency’s filing of the executed Pittman Settlement Agreement with the Commission, the Walker Settlement Agreement is automatically vacated and replaced by the Pittman Settlement Agreement, making the Walker Settlement Agreement, signed April 2013, null and void, in its entirety.” The substitution does not affect the legal rights of class members or their recovery, except that it does cause some minimal delay. However, in order to avoid even more lengthy delay, the parties agreed and the judge approved this substitution.
The attorneys for the class members agreed to pay out of its own pocket reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred to USPS after June 13, 2013, as a result of Walker’s undisclosed 2010 legal case which affected his ability to continue as Class Agent.
The Pittman Class Action (formerly Walker Class Action) alleges that the Postal Service violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by restricting the duty hours, including overtime, of employees with disabilities in permanent rehabilitation positions/assignments during the period March 24, 2000 through December 31, 2012.
The Pittman Settlement Agreement was reached on October 1, 2013. The EEOC gave Preliminary Approval of the Settlement Agreement on October 23, 2013.
Without admitting liability, the Postal Service agreed to pay the Class $17.25 million dollars to resolve the claims of 40,898 Potential Class Members.
How much money will each class member receive? The amount of money that each class member may recover is dependent on several factors including, but not limited to, the number of years as a Permanent Rehabilitation Employee and the number of eligible claims made in the process. Therefore, it cannot yet be determined how much money each eligible class member may receive.