Editorial: MSPB Finds Limited Duty Offer Was Proper

Heidel vs USPS, 2009 MSPB 152, August 5, 2009 by Don Cheney

The Merit Systems Protection Board found that the appellant was not entitled to the limited duty position he wanted. The Postal Service needed only to assign him to a position for which he is qualified. The USPS restructured the appellant’s current position by instructing him not to perform the duties normally associated with the position that exceed his medical restrictions. Thus, in the Board’s view, the appellant was assigned duties that were within his medical restrictions and, therefore, a position for which he is qualified.

The Board was not persuaded by the appellant’s contention that he is not able to determine whether a task violates his restrictions because he is not a medical expert. In the Board’s view, the appellant’s medical restrictions were such that they do not require medical expertise to understand. In fact, because the restrictions were not specific and definite but rather, call for the appellant to avoid certain acts “on a frequent basis,” and to “decrease” other activities, there was no one better able than the appellant to understand whether a particular task on a particular day is within his restrictions.

Comment: OWCP and MSPB mainly care if the limited duty position being offered is within the person’s medical restrictions. The right to challenge a tour change comes from ELM 546 and must be pursued in the grievance procedure as appropriate. If this person is not careful, he could be facing removal for inability to perform the essential functions of his position (an administrative action rather than a disciplinary one). Has he not heard of the “National Reassessment Process?”

3 thoughts on “Editorial: MSPB Finds Limited Duty Offer Was Proper

  1. The proper forum for determining whether or not a limited duty job offer is or is not medically suitable is the FECA, Office of Worker’s Compensation Programs (OWCP).
    If you or your treating physician believe the offered
    job is not medically suitable, the job offer should not be rejected or accepted and a suitability determination should be requested from OWCP.

  2. Sooner or later the two WARS we have gotten invoved in, as the result of a LIE, will come to an end. Once that happen, and if the Postal Service continues to go forward with the “HOGWASH”, where are these Veteran going to find employment that paids a descent salary, if not with the Postal Service. If you did not know, the Postal Service placed emphasis on hiring the Veteran. Private Companies will not hire the Veteran like we were hired in the Postal Service. I am a Disabled Veteran with a college degree, because of my salary, I, like most Postal Workers, took pride in making THE POSTAL SERVICE COMMITTMENTS! THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN when they privatized the Postal Service,

  3. Unless we aren’t hearing the whole story, it makes you wonder what is wrong with this person? Did they want someone to come do the job for him/her? Some people don’t know enough to quit when they are ahead!

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