Editorial: Postal Service Keeps Employees Disciplinary Records Forever

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.”

USPS 100.000
System Name: General Personnel Records.

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.


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.”
Don Cheney
Auburn WA

6 thoughts on “Editorial: Postal Service Keeps Employees Disciplinary Records Forever

  1. I am sorry to say to I On Wed that if it wasn’t for a union in the Postal Service a lot of people would be fired . You wouldn’t have the cheap health insurance you are being covered by and still complaining about the premiums.

    I on Wed you need to move to Wisconsin where union rights are being stripped by the republicans and maybe you will apprecaite what great union you belong too.
    Maybe,if you were working in one of the union busting states you would have an I(EYE) out looking for another great paying job. Then you could change your name I need a job.

    God bless all unions and their members and keep them strong with members solidaity and support.

  2. As a Postmaster I was given a direct order to access this file as part of an Investigative Interview. I was shocked but not surprised to find this file used in this manner. After stepping down I notified my NALC Local of this practice. USPS states this file is for protection against lawsuits.
    If so then why aren’t they purged periodically. There are Statutes of Limitations that determine how long after the offense one can sue. Take the max time and use it as a purge date. Or publicly admit the true purpose of the file.

  3. I on Wed? What the hell are you talking about? Class actions and grievances benefit stewards? In what way do I benefit from listening to peoples’ problems, often the same people over and over, … and dealing with belligerent management, and doing gobs of paperwork? Oh, I save $18 a pp in dues, very lucrative.
    You’re more than welcome to join in the fun and frivolity, apply to be a steward.

  4. To…”l on Wed, 22nd Jun ” So you are the “one” that does not have good benifits and of course you work for the state min. wage with no one to insure your safety while at work. You poor bastard…Why would not just go to Burger King surley you would be better off.

  5. The APWU spends a lot of time and energy on issues like this one as well as class actions and grievances that mainly benefit stewards and union officers. But when it comes to the basic purpose of a union, to secure good wages and benefits for their members, they don’t do so well.

  6. Do you agree with this statement? “The Postal Service does not expect this amended notice to have any adverse effect on individual privacy rights.” It is true because you do not have any individual privacy rights. However you do have the right to review your records and should do so often. The Agency must correct any information that is not accurate and remove inaccurate records if requested by the employee. You better check them before July when they will make it harder for you to comply with what will be required before you will be granted access to your own records.

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