A class action complaint for injured on duty postal employees was certified by an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ) on May 30,2008.
In the case of (Read article from February 17, 2009) Sandra McConnell, et al. v. United States Postal Service an AJ decision certified the following class:
All permanent rehabilitation employees and limited duty employees at the U.S. Postal Service who have been subjected to the National Reassessment Process (NRP) from May 5, 2006 to present, allegedly in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The AJ certification decision recited evidence that the goal of NRP was to assign work to
employees who had an approved compensable injury as determined by the Department of Labor.
According to the decision, Phase 1 of NRP consisted largely of reviewing the files and medical records of all these employees; where needed requesting updated medical documentation from the employee; and verifying that current work actually being performed matched the current job offer. According to the decision, Phase 2 consisted largely of canvassing facilities to identify work necessary for operations and functions, attempting to match the employee with the necessary work, and if none is found, notifying the employee that no work was available.
Class members argued one or more of the following complaints:
1. NRP is a systemic attempt to abolish reasonable accommodations agency wide.
2. The agency’s alleged facially non-discriminatory policy is being applied in a discriminatory manner.
3. The process constitutes denial(s) of reasonable accommodation.
4. The process constitutes discrimination based on disability (physical/mental).
5. The process constitutes unlawful harassment and hostile work environment based on disability (physical/mental).
6. The agency unlawfully modified or terminated each person’s approved disability accommodations without cause.
7. The agency made its reassignment decisions improperly by, inter alia, failing to engage in the interactive process.
8. The agency applied the program discriminatorily both with regard to each individual and how the process was applied.
9. The agency’s actions are retaliatory for the individual’s protected conduct, in reporting injuries, filing worker’s compensation, and/or prior EEO activity.
10. The agency’s conduct violated its procedures and OWCP’s regulations and blatant failure to follow the agency’s own regulations is presumed to be motivated by retaliation and/or discrimination.
The Postal Service filed an appeal from the certification decision.
Recently EEOC agreed with the AJ’s determination that the class should be defined as all permanent rehabilitation employees and limited duty employees at the agency who have been subjected to the NRP since 2006. Therefore, the EEOC reversed the Postal Service’s order rejecting the class and ordered them to notify potential class members.
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