An Adverse Ruling In EEOC Class Action NRP Case Could Have A ‘Material Impact’ On USPS
As PostalReporter.com noted earlier, USPS ended its National Reassessment Process (NRP) January 31, 2011. The statement by USPS below may be the reason it has quietly abandoned the program.
On January 14, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations certified a class action case against the Postal Service in a matter captioned McConnell v. Potter (first instituted in 2006), with the class consisting of all permanent rehabilitation employees and limited duty employees who have been subjected to the National Reassessment Process (NRP) from May 5, 2006 to the present. The Postal Service used the NRP to ensure that its records were correct and that employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits were placed in jobs consistent with their abilities. The case alleges violations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 resulting from the NRP’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation, the NRP’s wrongful disclosure of medical information, the creation by the NRP of a hostile work environment, and the NRP’s adverse impact on disabled employees. The class is seeking injunctive relief and damages of an uncertain amount on behalf of a yet undetermined, but very large number of employees. If the plaintiffs were able to prove their allegations in this matter and to establish the damages they assert, then an adverse ruling could have a material impact on the Postal Service. However, the Postal Service disputes the claims and intends to vigorously contest the matter.
The lawsuit was cited in the Postal Service’s most recent Quarterly Financial Report. Also MSPB recently invited interested parties to submit briefs for cases involving NRP
Here is the summary of allegations filed in the EEOC class action:
In the case of 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