The following are summaries of some class action EEOC cases pending and/or settled against USPS.
John Cyncar vs USPS
In the first class action case, complainant John Cyncar on April 30, 2001 filed a formal EEO complaint alleging that he was discriminated against in violation of Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 791 et seq., (Rehabilitation Act). Cyncar then moved to have portions of his complaint certified as a class action. He alleged, on behalf of the class, that the Postal Service’s Western Area Region violated the Rehabilitation Act when it treated qualified individuals with disabilities between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2002 differently and less favorably than non-disabled individuals with respect to benefits provided by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and that the Postal Service’s treatment of disabled employees with respect to the FMLA resulted in failure to accommodate their disabilities and the discriminatory issuance of disability related absences. An EEOC Administrative Judge certified the class and letters were sent out to 49,000 potential class members . The USPS denied that it violated the Rehabilitation Act, FMLA, or that it did anything wrong. Regardless, the parties agreed to settle this Case on Dec 22, 2010. The parties decided to settled this case due to in part that Phases of the litigation would possibly take up to 5 or 6 more years (the case was already 8 years old). Cyncar v. United States Postal Service.
The settlement provided that USPS will pay, in full settlement of all claims in this Case:
The total sum of three-million-eight-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollars ($3,850,000)
This sum is comprised of: (1) a Class Fund of two-million-seven-hundred-thousand-dollars ($2,700,000); (2) two-hundred-thousand-dollars ($200,000) as a Reserve, as described in Section 7.3 of the Global Settlement Agreement; and (3) payment of attorneys’ fees and costs to Class Counsel in the amount of nine-hundred-fifty-thousand-dollars ($950,000).
From the Class Fund of $2,700,000.00, the following amounts are allocated as follows:
a) $20,000.00 to Class Agent Cyncar for his efforts throughout the course of the litigation;
b) $3,500.00 per person for each of the eight members of the Cyncar Settlement Committee; and
c) The payment of $9,783.54 as reimbursement for costs contributed by Class members
A provision that unclaimed funds would be divided equally between the USPS and the Wounded Warriors Fund.
All amounts remaining in the Reserve after payment of all Administrative Costs would be divided among eligible class members on apro rata basis.
Diana Pevoteaux v. United States Postal Service
The proposed class complaint alleges that the agency discriminated against class members when medical information was posted in the eRMS and made available to all personnel with access to the system in violation of the Rehabilitation Act. Specifically, it is alleged that the Postal Service is violating the Rehabilitation Act restrictions on the storage of confidential medical information by entering medical conditions and histories, including symptoms, diagnoses, or conditions, in the case comments section of FMLA Data Reports maintained in eRMS (Enterprise Resource Management System). It also alleged that the Postal Service is violating the Rehabilitation Act by disclosing this stored medical conditions and histories through eRMS to managers and supervisors who do not need the information to provide accommodations or to ensure medical restrictions are followed. This case is still pending.
Sandra McConnell vs USPS
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.
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. This case is still pending.
Edmund Walker vs USPS
Edmond C. Walker, the class agent in the Walker class action, filed a complaint on August 19, 2002. Walker alleged that, since April 2000, the Postal Service discriminated against individuals with disabilities by:
1. Placing disabled individuals in permanent rehabilitation positions without engaging in the interactive process as required by law;
2. Restricting disabled individuals who are placed in permanent rehabilitation [sic] to limited work hours without any medical justification and without consulting the individual with a disability;
3. Fail[ing] to allow individuals with a disability, who have been placed in permanent rehabilitation positions, to work the number of hours determined appropriate by the individual and his/her physician and which are available; and
4. Fail[ing] to allow individuals with a disability, who have been placed in permanent rehabilitation positions, to use assistive devices in the workplace to accommodate their disabilities, including but not limited to, electric scooters, notwithstanding that said assistive devices pose no threat to safety or inconvenient [sic] in the workplace.
This claim has been analyzed to include denial of overtime.
On December 12, 2003, an EEOC Administrative Judge issued a decision concerning the Walker class complaint. The Administrative Judge ordered the Postal Service to “identify all those pending complaints that raise the same issue as the Walker class complaint during the time frame encompassed by the Walker class complaint, January 1, 2000, to the present.” Unsure of status of this case.
There are several more EEOC class actions cases filed by Postal Workers which I will post at a later time.