There have been changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that every employee should know about. An update now entitles eligible employees to take leave for a covered family member’s service in the armed forces. This policy supplements current FMLA policy and provides notice of employee rights to such leave.
Servicemember FMLA provides eligible employees leave to care for a covered family member — spouse, parent, son, daughter or next of kin — who has incurred an injury or illness in the line of duty while on active duty in the armed forces. That’s provided that the injury or illness render the family member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.
Eligible employees also are entitled to leave because of a qualifying situation caused by a family member’s active duty or call to active duty in the armed forces in support of a contingency operation plan.
Another Postal Employee Sentenced for Stealing Undeliverable Bulk Business Mail
The following is a press release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida:
January 17, 2008
Pensacola, Florida – Gregory R. Miller, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, and James B. Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the United States Postal Service (USPS) Office of Inspector General announced today Tony David Grimsley and Bobby Ray Pruett, both former employees of the United States Postal Service, were sentenced today by United States District Judge M. Casey Rodgers following their mail theft convictions. Grimsley was found guilty following a jury trial of theft of 214 “movie coupons” issued to mail customers by Movie Gallery, Inc. In a separate case, Pruett, the former local chapter president of American Postal Workers Union, entered a plea of guilty to mail theft charges in connection with his opening of first class mail parcels and theft of the contents. Evidence in both cases included covert surveillance video, oral and written confessions, and testimony from law enforcement and civilian witnesses.
Grimsley was sentenced to six (6) months of home detention, a $1,000 fine, $800 restitution to Movie Gallery, Inc., and two (2) years of supervised release. Pruett, who was on State of Florida probation for an unrelated crime at the time of the offenses, was sentenced to seven (7) months imprisonment, a $500 fine, two (2) years of supervised release, and a $200 special monetary assessment.
“U.S. Postal Service employees are given a special trust to properly handle mail that comes into their possession, “ said U.S. Attorney Miller. “When even one postal employee violates that trust, it is a cause for concern for all customers of the mail system.”
“Although the vast majority of the Postal Service’s 800,000 employees are honest and trusted public servants, there are a small number who betray that trust. In those instances, criminal prosecution is vigorously pursued,” said Special Agent in Charge Davis. “The Inspector General’s mission is to promote integrity and accountability in America’s postal system.”
Both cases resulted from the investigation of the United States Postal Inspection Service Special Agents David Williams and Guy Nelson. Grimsley was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Thomas P. (Tom) Swaim, and Pruett was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randall J. (Randy) Hensel.
Related: Former Florida APWU Local President Pleads Guilty to Theft of Mail (January 1, 2008)
On November 2, 2007, a former Sales and Service Associate (SSA), who was APWU president of the Playground Area Local , pled guilty to 1 count of Theft of Mail by Postal Employee and 1 count of Delay of Destruction of Mail by a Postal Employee. The guilty plea stemmed from a OIG investigation into an allegation that postal management suspected the SSA of rifling mailpieces and parcels destined as Return-to-Sender or endorsed as undeliverable. PostalReporter.com: According to his indictment, he took two cigarette lighters, two Victoria’s Secret free panty cards, a Florida State University neoprene bottle cooler and an Apple iPod. After waiving his Miranda rights, he signed a 9-page statement which contained incriminating evidence against him. Although he was issued a notice of removal, he is fighting it through the grievance procedure.
Jim Letten, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana announced Friday the indictments of nine postal employees for conspiracy to steal from the United States Mail.
Among the indicted were:
52-year-old Timothy B. Dede
36-year-old Benson V. Dabney
53-year-old Clyde Lee Caston
33-year-old Louin Seabrook Jackson
44-year-old Kim Yvette Hester Martin
42-year-old Felicia Danielle Tanner
48-year-old Tyrone Lewis
43-year-old Tanya S. Payton-Lewis
47-year-old Anthony Martin
Dede and Dabney were also charged with a single count of theft by postal employees, Letten said.
The indictment alleges the nine postal workers conspired to buy, receive and/or unlawfully possess stolen mail.
If convicted, the defendants could each face a prison term of five years, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. Dede and Dabney each face another five years in jail, along with a $250,000 fine, for the other charges.
From the Postal Service notice posted on Federal Business Opportunities website:
The United States Postal Service (USPS) wishes to pre-qualify suppliers who can develop, implement, manage, and analyze information for a national Employee Engagement survey. The purpose of this system is to provide an independent, periodic measure of the satisfaction levels of Postal Service employees. Such a process should also help the USPS to identify which employee engagement drivers need attention to increase employee engagement. The USPS is seeking suppliers who apply current industry best practices and demonstrate innovative approaches to providing actionable insights into employees’ perceptions. Suppliers pre-qualified as part of this process may be invited to participate in response to a solicitation(s) issued by the USPS. It is the intent of the USPS to issue a solicitation for the measurement of employee engagement and analysis using pre-qualified suppliers.
PART I – GENERAL INFORMATION (continued)
B. PROJECT DESCRIPTION
The purpose of the Employee Engagement survey is to measure employees’ attitudes about the workplace and their perception of drivers of their overall work experience. It will be a census survey of the entire employee population to gain insight into the issues and concerns of the workforce. The current survey (Voice of the Employee) measures perceptions of workplace environment, consists of 41core questions and is administered on a quarterly basis to one fourth of the approximately 800,000 employee population. Every employee has an opportunity to respond to the survey once every year.
All 41 questions elicit employee opinion on a wide variety of workplace related issues. Six of these questions have been identified as key indicators of workplace environmental factors that can have an impact on employee performance and affect business outcomes. These questions are combined together, each receiving equal weight, and averaged into an index score.
The successful supplier must be able to:
A. Select a stratified random sample of employees for each Performance Cluster (PC) and Headquarters/related unit, stratified by bargaining and non-bargaining employees within each PC and Headquarters/related unit. The entire audience of the approximately 800,000 employee population will be sampled during each year. The USPS will provide the name, mailing address, indication of bargaining/non-bargaining employee status, area, performance cluster, work location, and email addresses (as appropriate) for each career employee.
B. Conduct the data collection process through both mail-out and web-based processes.
The current mail-out process includes: producing sufficient quantities for all survey recipients; providing outgoing and return white envelopes and preparing the mail-out of the survey, including collating and stuffing surveys, cover letters, instructions and return envelopes. Employee address information needs to be printed so that the recipient can peel or tear off this information to preserve anonymity. Only work location code, bargaining/non-bargaining indication and field/HQ designation will remain on the survey itself. NOTE – current process specifics are being provided to provide overall scope. Proposals should include current industry best-practice processes.
The web-based process (not yet designed) will require specific attention to security and preservation of anonymity. NOTE – as indicated above, proposals should include current industry best-practices processes.
C. Distribute (mail and/or email) surveys within a specified (narrow) time period. Special packaging and sorting will be necessary for different locations, based on the size of the office.
D. Receive all returned hardcopy surveys via first class mail at the contractor site. Scan or image all returned answer sheets.
Receive and maintain all web-based survey data.
Produce and deliver tracking reports, including data verification, so that the incoming information can be continually monitored.
E. Results will be calculated and made available at the various levels (for example national, area, performance cluster, Processing & Distribution Centers, and Bulk Mail Centers). Results calculated will need to be given to the USPS electronically in various types of spreadsheets and databases. Analyses and results must be able to be broken down in various ways.
F. The supplier must produce hard copy data reports of results at the various levels.
G. The USPS is seeking demonstrated experience in analysis, including sophisticated interpretation and presentation of findings.
H. The USPS is seeking industry best-practice follow-up (action planning and measurement) tools and processes.
See Full Notice
Donald Henry, a Virginia postal clerk, says he’s coming forward-at the risk of losing his job-because he believes sensitive employee information was compromised and the post office has covered it up. Henry says it was no accident that tens of thousands of pages of sensitive employee information was tossed into a public dumpster behind the courthouse post office in Arlington. He insists he alerted his bosses when he noticed roughly 20 cases headed for the trash. Sources say a supervisor ordered the documents thrown out. Among them: highly personal medical information, accident reports, performance reviews and countless grievances–including secual harassment claims lodged by postal employees against the Postal Service. The Office of Inspector General said Postal Employees were not informed because this was “an isolated incident” and that “all the documents were retrieved safely secured and disposed of properly.”
For decades, Customer Service Supervisor “Donna Lewis has stood out in a sea of blue uniformity — she adorned herself almost daily with bright colors such as lime green and sunshine yellow, complete with a sparkly pin or an appliqué sweater. So what did she wear on her last day on Friday at Midland, Michigan Post Office – A navy blue shirt and pants. Lewis is retiring after 29 years with USPS.
“She’s been hassled about how she dresses for as long as I’ve known her and she doesn’t care, she’s just Donna,” said Dan Gotham, who’s worked with Donna Lewis for the past 11 years. Gotham wore a pair of floral pattern women’s pants rolled to a capri style in honor of Donna’s last day at the post office Friday.
Donna Lewis poses with fellow post office employees who dressed in vibrant colors for her last day.
(Hawaii) About 3,000 Oahu postal employees received letters in the mail this weekend warning them that their personal information may be compromised.
The employees’ names, Social Security numbers and other information were on a laptop computer that was stolen in August.
So far, there is no indication the thief was able to access the employees’ information, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Duke Gonzales said.
An employee called KITV concerned about why it took so long for the postal service to issue an alert.
More info from KiTV The Hawaii Channel
From PostalReporter.com reader:
Local taxes: The USPS is threatening to discipline employees that don’t follow local tax codes. States affected include Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
If you are subject to any of these local taxes, you must be proactive and complete and submit the proper taxation paperwork. Frequent contact between the Postal Service, Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and these taxing authorities indicates that many employees are not having the appropriate amounts withheld from their pay. You are reminded that, as a Postal Service employee, you are personally responsible for ensuring that the correct local taxes are deducted from your pay.All Postal Service employees are reminded that they are bound by the materials contained within the Code of Ethics, Principles of Ethical Conduct for Government Officers and Employees. This includes Principle 12, which states: “An employee shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those — such as federal, state, or local taxes — that are imposed by law.”source:Postal Bulletin 10/11/07 Issue
Archive: Deadline Up for Postal Workers to Pay Off City Payroll Tax -[note: link is not active] (Paducah, Kentucky) 200 Postal Workers face prosecution over non-payment- Tuesday was the last day that Paducah postal workers could pay off payroll taxes they owed dating back to 2000 . Because Paducah has less than 500 Federal employees– Federal agencies are exempted by law from withholding Paducah payroll taxes. According to one clerk,” the local newspaper and TV reports made us all look like a bunch of “crooks & cheat’s”! They are expecting us (Postal employee’s) pay upon short notice.” The local APWU has hired an attorney and may work out some agreement with the city. (6/4/05)|
Possible ID Theft Worries Postal Workers
Hundreds of postal workers around Nashville are finding out their personal information was stolen three months ago. U.S. Postal Service inspectors are looking into how the computer was stolen as postal workers are asking why it took so long for them to find out.“One of my questions (is) why did it take so long for someone to contact us?” said Levan Butler of the Postal Workers Union. Butler is vice president of the union and just got a letter informing him that a post office laptop containing his name and Social Security number was stolen in May. WSMV-TV
A 10-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service filed a lawsuit Monday accusing the agency of selling the personal information of its workers to credit card and other companies without consent.
Lance McDermott, a mechanic for mail-processing equipment, said in the U.S. District Court complaint that he has been inundated with credit card, cell phone and life insurance offers in the past two years — but that’s not what most troubles him. In some instances, it appears the Postal Service provided the companies with eight-digit employee identification numbers, used for sensitive tasks such as accessing health care records, the complaint said.
McDermott said he was deluged with offers from Visa, Sprint Nextel Corp. and other companies
McDermott’s complaint cited the Postal Service’s April 2005 “Guidelines for Privacy” handbook, which included a section on direct marketing to workers: “Growing revenue is a critical strategy for the Postal Service,” it said, and for that reason, the agency would allow companies to bid for the right to mail promotional offers to Postal Service workers. The offers arrive “cobranded” with the Postal Service’s logo
source: Associated Press
Below is the Press Release from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
Postal Employees Cry Foul over Alleged USPS Privacy Violations
SEATTLE- Today Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the United States Postal Service (USPS) on behalf of all employees, claiming the Federal government agency has violated terms of the Privacy Act and distributed contact information of its employees to marketing partners.
According to the filed complaint USPS has allowed private businesses, as part of its Strategic Business Initiatives plan, to access and utilize its ‘employee master file’ that contains private information including home addresses of all career and non-career, full and part-time employees.
The complaint states the business initiatives plan allows private corporations to submit bids for co-branding agreements. Under these agreements the USPS logo is branded on various marketing materials and sent to the private residences of USPS employees.
“It appears that USPS is sharing sensitive employee information to a wide range of marketers, hawking everything from cell phones to credit cards,” said Steve Berman, lead attorney and managing partner of HBSS. “Not only do we think this sort of activity is illegal, we think it sets a very bad example as the nation’s second largest employer.”
Specifically Berman cites potential violations of the U.S. Privacy Act, which spells out very strict protections prohibiting employers from sharing employee information within federal agencies.
According to the complaint USPS recognizes that it is subject to the protection requirements of the Privacy Act. The postal service outlines the Privacy Act’s specifications on its Web site and in its handbook. Among those is a mandate to protect the privacy its customers, employees, individuals and suppliers and a requirement not to disclose personal, private information from employee records without the employee’s prior written consent – yet it is still happening.
The plaintiff alleges he has been subject to numerous mailings of these sorts for approximately the past two years and says he was never made aware of the ‘opt-in’ ‘opt-out’ programs which USPS claims are available.
“Our client is outraged that an organization he has dedicated the last 10 years of his life would be so quick to sell his personal information for a quick buck,” said Berman. “We expect a huge outpouring from postal employees throughout the U.S. who have experienced the same thing.”
The USPS is a Federal government agency that delivers mail daily to more than 300 million people at 146 million homes, businesses, and post office boxes throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. USPS has an annual operating budget of $73 billion which is generated through sale of postage and money from other business ventures.
This class action suit seeks to recover the amounts which USPS unjustly received through the co-branding agreements and for the use of employees’ private information to be stopped.
source: Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro