Postal Supervisor Wins $1.1 Million in Disability Case against USPS over handicap parking space

1/23/2018 – Former USPS Maintenance Supervisor Anthony Sansone, a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service, was awarded $1,128,774 in damages in a disability discrimination lawsuit brought against USPS. On Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, Senior US District Court Judge Milton Shadur awarded Mr. Sansone $828,744 in lost wages; this is in addition to an earlier federal jury verdict awarding Mr. Sansone $300,000 in damages for emotional distress, the maximum award allowed under the law. Sansone originally filed a discrimination claim against the USPS in May 2013 under the Americans with Disabilities Act. [Sansone’s attorney fees were another $627,089]

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According to the facts in this case:

Anthony Sansone is a former employee of USPS. He began working for USPS over thirty years ago, in February, 1981. He was promoted to Supervisor of Maintenance Operations in 1987. He was last employed at the USPS Chicago Network Distribution Center in Forest Park, Illinois . He was terminated by USPS in October 2011 when USPS management prohibited him from parking at the one location that made the Distribution Center accessible to him. Mr. Sansone has exhausted all administrative requirements for bringing this lawsuit.

Anthony Sansone suffers from multiple sclerosis, a severe progressive neurological disease that leads to loss of control of muscle function. Starting in 1999, he has been unable to walk and has been required to use a wheelchair to move from one location to another. At all relevant times, he suffered from a disability as that term is defined in the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

Despite his disability, Mr. Sansone continued to work at USPS. He learned to drive a specially equipped van, which he could operate with his arms and hands, with a lift for his wheelchair. The Distribution Center was not modified to be handicapped accessible, but Mr. Sansone’s postal supervisors found a way to make the building accessible by allowing him to park near his office. There was an access ramp nearby leading up to the first floor of the building and automatic doors at the top of the ramp that gave Mr. Sansone access to the building. Mr. Sansone parked at that location and used the ramp for twelve years without incident.

In September 2011 Mr. Sansone was told he could no longer park at the location he had used for twelve (12) years. No good reason was given for this order. Mr. Sansone was told he could park at two other locations. If he parked at either of those locations, however, the Distribution Center would not be safely accessible to him. Mr. Sansone told his postal supervisor that the alternative locations suggested to him would not work, and the building would be inaccessible, but his postal supervisors told him that those were his only choices. USPS failed to make accommodations that would have made the building accessible to Mr. Sansone if he parked at one of the other locations and failed to reasonably accommodate him by allowing him to park and enter the building at the
location he had used without incident for twelve years.

Because he could not park and enter the Distribution Center, given his postal supervisors’ directives, Mr. Sansone was forced to leave his job involuntarily.

At the time he was terminated Mr. Sansone was able to perform the essential functions of his job.

Mr. Sansone was constructively discharged. A reasonable person in Mr. Sansone’s circumstances, without being provided a reliable and safe means of entering his facility, would have felt compelled to resign.

Federal law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. By failing to accommodate Mr. Sansone and his disability, the USPS violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

The jury found the Postal Service failed to accommodate Mr. Sansone’s disability as required by law. He was awarded damages for the severe and ongoing depression he suffered as a result of the loss of his job, which was his primary means of coping with the mental stress of his disability. After further proceedings, Judge Shadur awarded him damages to compensate him for his loss of employment income.

The Postal Service was ordered to pay Sansone forthwith the total of (a) $300,000 as awarded by the jury and (b) constituting his “total lost compensation from the date of termination until his estimated date of retirement, subtracting his 7% pension contribution, adding prejudgment interest and reducing [the amount] to present value. The Postal Service was further ordered, when Sansone does choose to retire (whether or not on January 20, 2023 as he now anticipates), to pay him a pension thereafter at the appropriate percentage (80% if the 2023 date applies) of the average of his highest three years of pre−retirement earnings.

Mr. Sansone was represented pro bono by Eimer Stahl LLP lawyers Ben Waldin and Jacob Hamann, attorney Paul Strauss, and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights

The Postal Service has appealed the verdict to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.

There is another disability discrimination lawsuit  involving a Postmaster coming up.  The disabled postmaster requested a custodian job but was denied, so he, too, had to retire.  His jury trial is set for later this year.

20 thoughts on “Postal Supervisor Wins $1.1 Million in Disability Case against USPS over handicap parking space

  1. clear violation of the law, Where is EEOC? Oh, You do not have a claim! Time to get rid of EEOC and allow an individual to file a law suit immediately. Get rid of the damage limit and the system will have to be fixed. $300,000 is nothing when the american tax payer is paying for it. Does it come out of the same budgeted item that the government pays for sexual harassment? The system is broken.

  2. just one more reason the money losing Postal Circus should be put down like a rabbid animal! Buy UPS/FDX/AMZN stock and you can hedge against these dummies.

  3. Good Luck Tony ..keep that fighter spirit and being an example for others. Mayb now other CBMC horror stories will b told and made right….

  4. I am (happy) you keep with it kwau kuntu if you remember I was on the other scooter and lost my case didn’t fight just retire and took the lost of income. They would let me use the ramp at all of work up front I am so happy you “won”

  5. Way to go Tony. It took them long enough. To bad that ruby doesn’t have to pay it back instead she gets promoted and now retired. Best of luck bro it was great working with ya. Happily retired. Sam

  6. Tony’s managers where all behind him 100%, that is who orignally approved his parking space and let it be for 12 years. the blame for this rests solely with a pces exec named Ruby Branch who became GM of the NDC and did this and many other mean spirited things to get people to leave so she could bring in her own staff of incompetent nincompoops. Ask her about the death of mgr in plant Zobel, who was dying of cancer yet refused any accomodation despite 40 years service. placed in a wop status and forced to retire only to die a month later. No, the EAS where on tony’s side for this one folks. place the blame where it should be.

  7. kudos I know that had to be so hard really so proud of you for not giving up and for coming back to work showing that you want to work and you want your job.

  8. Great news for Tony. Too bad the GM who forced him out will suffer no consequences. His wasn’t the only case at that facility in 2010-2011. I worked there for 37 years.

  9. No reason given for Mr. Sansone not to park in the same space he occupied for 12 years. Someone just didnt like him and / or wanted to exercise some form of authority over this man without acknowledging his rights. The man suffered, the agency paid out. This didnt need to be. I wish the USPS had better quality management. To often, they dont. Many managers get into their positions because they cannot do craft work. Its not that they are qualified to be managers.

  10. Too bad that they have no respect for their workers. Hope this guy wins in the
    end of this nonsense. The Postmaster General is lost in promoting a safe and
    fair environment. The only workers that are happy there are the cold heartless.

  11. And the Postal Service appealed? Goes to show they don’t give a rat’s butt about employees! I hope the guy gets more than the original amount!

  12. The toolbags at their best. Fire the toolbag who made
    the decision to move the parking spot or maybe he/she
    is parking there. Immoral, unethical, lying unhumanbeings.
    Fire them all.

  13. Typical postal mgmt. Glad this guy took them to the cleaners. Of course, no one responsible will be held accountable in any way as usual.

    And they blame the crafts for their financial woes.

  14. Management. Does. Not. Care. They don’t have to pay this judgement and the appeals process might delay that payment until after his death.

  15. Good for Mr. Sansone. That victory however comes only after being forced to leave the Service and be robbed of a job he could still do because postal management in their typical way refused to acknowledge and obey the Americans With Disabilities Act.
    I have seen it happen so often – people attracted to management are usually one of two groups: those who need more money to raise families and pay the bills, and those who are arrogant status seekers and ass kissers and snitches in it for the title and a very misguided and totally false sense of power and superiority over those they manage.
    Of course, there are those who got into management with good intentions but found out early on that their opinions were not wanted or welcomed by higher ups. It is a system controlled by a tight group of people in our districts and Areas who have systematically destroyed any lingering sense of autonomy in any post office. You do their bidding or else. Some in lower levels figure when the older tyrants leave they can step in, and many do. But by that time for the most part the metamorphism is complete.
    It’s the rampant egomania that allows managers to totally ignore federal law if they don’t think they’re being watched, blow off contracts and manuals like so much confetti, and act recklessly, dishonestly and have no sense of purpose other than to appease higher ups, bully those under them, and abuse craft employees whenever they can.
    This settlement is big money to me and lots of people, but it’s pocket change, the cost of doing “business”, and will have no lasting effect. There must be serious investigations into the corrupt world of postal management when a Democrat regains the White House. No sense in doing anything now since D.C. is run by the most dishonest, corrupt and sinister people in the history of the country.

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