Acting Postal Supervisor was terminated for falsifying timecard but not his female boss (Postmaster)
Charles Wilcher, a 204B (acting) supervisor from the letter carrier craft, claimed he was “working” on July 5, 2006 when he spent the day with his Postmaster . She was also accused of getting paid for July 5, 2006 even though it was alleged that she did not actually work that day. She was initially demoted to the position of Supervisor of Customer Service, but was subsequently returned to her position as Vineland Postmaster. Eight months after the incident Wilcher was issued a Notice of Removal. After a grievance filed by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) , a three-day arbitration hearing and two formal complaints filed with the EEOC, his removal was upheld. The District and Appeals Courts upheld Wilcher’s removal finding no discrimination.
In September 2000, plaintiff, Charles Wilcher, became a “craft” employee of the United States Postal Service. He first served as a letter carrier, but in July 2006, he became a 204B acting supervisor of the Vineland Delivery and Distribution Center. As a 204B supervisor, plaintiff retained his craft status, but he performed duties of a first-level supervisor.
On March 16, 2007, plaintiff was issued a Notice of Removal, which terminated his employment with the USPS. The Notice of Removal charged plaintiff with improper conduct for being paid for eight hours on July 5, 2006 even though he had not reported for duty that day. Through two formal complaints filed with the EEOC, a grievance filed by his union, and a three-day arbitration hearing, plaintiff challenged the basis for removal by maintaining that he did work on July 5, 2006. Plaintiff explained that he did not perform his supervisor duties that day on the floor, but rather spent the entire day filing with the Vineland Postmaster in her office, behind closed doors or otherwise in an area where other USPS employees could not see him.
An Office of Inspector General investigation ensued into plaintiff’s explanation, and the arbitrator and plaintiff’s supervisors all determined it to be without merit, thus leading to plaintiff’s discharge. Plaintiff, however, insists that he worked on that date, and claims that the USPS terminated his employment because is a black male. As a result, plaintiff filed this action against the USPS for unlawful discrimination based on his race and gender.
On May 23, 2011 the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit ruled: .
Whether the USPS was correct in finding that Wilcher committed time and attendance fraud is irrelevant. The relevant consideration is whether the USPS believed Wilcher was purposefully paid for hours he was not at work and decided to terminate him as a result. Wilcher presented no evidence to the contrary; therefore, there is nothing that could lead a rational jury to believe that the USPS terminated Wilcher for anything other than its proffered reason. The evidence is insufficient to make out a claim of gender-based discrimination for the same reasons it fails to support a race-based discrimination claim.Because Wilcher failed to raise an issue of fact as to whether the USPS’s proffered reason for terminating him was a pretext for discrimination, the evidence is inadequate to rebut the USPS’s explanation and fails to defeat summary judgment.