Stamps are not the only item USPS considers “Forever”
The following is an editorial by Don Cheney:
USPS Labor Relations keeps a reference copy of an employee’s disciplinary action for the employee’s entire career. Don’t believe it? THEY DO. See the USPS Privacy Act Notice of June 17, 2011 at http://federalregister.gov/a/2011-15038.
Labor Relation’s reference copies are never purged regardless of the disposition of the discipline. Keeping disciplinary records forever is legal under the collective bargaining agreements as long as they are “not considered” in subsequent disciplinary actions. The APWU challenged this nefarious practice and lost.
Postal employees need to keep the disposition of discipline they have received forever, because Labor Relations is not obligated to do so and often doesn’t. I have seen ancient disciplinary actions that were supposedly reduced or expunged surface more than a decade later. Typically, it is to refute a claim made by the employee like, “I’ve never been disciplined for such and such.”
System Name: General Personnel Records.
CATEGORIES OF RECORDS IN THE SYSTEM:
4. REFERENCE COPIES OF ALL DISCIPLINE OR ADVERSE ACTIONS: Letters of warning; notices of removal, suspension and/or reduction in grade or pay; letters of decisions; and documents relating to these actions. These are used only to refute inaccurate statements by witnesses before a judicial or administrative body. They may not be maintained in the employee’s OPF or eOPF but must be maintained in a separate file by Labor Relations.
RETENTION AND DISPOSAL:
3. REFERENCE COPIES OF DISCIPLINE OR ADVERSE ACTIONS. These records are kept for historical purposes and are not to be used for decisions about the employee. The retention of these records may not exceed 10 years beyond the employee’s separation date. The records are maintained longer if the employee is rehired during the 10-year period. They may not be maintained in the employee’s OPF or eOPF, but must be maintained in a separate file by Labor Relations.
In the days of paper records and locked filing cabinets, Labor Relations kept disciplinary records for only seven years. Paper files were hard to search. Today, computers have memories like elephants. Do you agree with this statement? “The Postal Service does not expect this amended notice to have any adverse effect on individual privacy rights.”