This a quite a lengthy case so I will try to summarize it with key points:
The Postal Service was found to have unlawfully discriminated against Michigan Letter Carrier Barbara Passage on the basis of disability, sex, retaliation for EEO activity in the terms and condition of her employment. Additionally,USPS managers/supervisors failed to reasonably accomodate Passage under the Rehabilitation Act. EEOC ruled that USPS failed to show it could accomodating her would cause a hardship.
The claims raised by Passage:
On June 22, 2007, her FMLA was denied;
On July 9, 2007,she was issued a letter of warning;
On July 18, 2007, she was issued a 7-Day Suspension;
On August 4, 2007, she was harassed and her 3996 was disapproved;
On August 7, 2007, she was harassed about her field and office time and her 3996 and 1571 disapproved;
On Septmeber 11, 2007, she was issued a letter of warning;
On or about November 20,2007, her attendance records was illegally changed, her FMLA hours were “exhausted and her FMLA protection terminted;
On December 11, 2007, she was given a pre-discplinary interview;
On December 26,2007, she received a letter of warning charging her with Irregular Attendance;
On or about January 16,2008, she was denied FMLA
The Postal Service’s Associate Area Medical Director retaliated against Passage for EEO activity under the Rehabiliation Act in providing instructions to the FMLA Coordinator for the purpose of denying her FMLA coverage. The Area Medical Director also provided instructions as to treatment of Passage regarding her leave request and medical certifications.
USPS manager/supervisors also retaliated against Passage for EEO activity; not providing her with assistance in delivering mail and by disciplining her for returning from route with undelivered mail when they did not do so for a male employee.
The USPS Area Medical Doctor contacted Passage’s doctor after receiving her FMLA certification in 2007. The USPS doctor told her doctor that the requested time off was too much and it could not be approved. She also inquired whether the Passage was a malinerer and honest. Passage’s doctor explained that Passage was not a malinerer but suffered from a condition that required time off. Since the Area Medical doctor told Passage’s doctor that she would not get the requested time off, he changed the medical certification to what the Area Doctor suggested.
During the hearing the FMLA Coordinator for USPS, Michigan District admitted that the “Agency policy is to challenge any certification for absences that allow an employee to take off work a great deal.” The EEOC administrative judge wrote,” This policy shows that the Agency is not complying with the Rehabilitiation Act because it is not accessing each employee’s need for absences on an individualized basis but simply challenges all requests for absences that it feels are general too many.
EEO set the remedy for this discrimination should be in part is to pay passage $50,000 in compensatory damages and separate attorney costs/fees.
This case is not settled as USPS was expected to challenge this decision.