PRESS RELEASE 3-28-16
U.S. Postal Service Discriminated against Disabled Veteran Letter Carrier, EEOC Judge Rules
MIAMI –Administrative Judge Kimberly A. Greenleaf of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) Miami District Office has ordered the United States Postal Service to pay $120,000 in monetary damages to Robert Wells, a Jupiter, Florida veteran who suffers from combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).
Judge Greenleaf presided over Wells’ EEOC hearing in West Palm Beach, Florida from May 6-11, 2015. In a 92-page decision received by the parties on March 24, Judge Greenleaf ruled that the Postal Service’s conduct violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a law prohibiting disability discrimination in the federal workplace that is very similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Specifically, Judge Greenleaf found that the Postal Service discriminated and retaliated against Wells, who had asked for a reasonable accommodation, when it transferred him from the Wellington Post Office to an undesired location in a high crime area. When Wells won a grievance returning him to the Wellington office, his manager refused to let him bid on a route there and transferred him again. The Postal Service continued to engage in unlawful conduct in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, Judge Greenleaf opined, when it forced Wells to go on emergency administrative leave, subjected him to an involuntary psychiatric fitness for duty examination, and disclosed his confidential medical information to unauthorized Postal Service personnel.
In addition to the $120,000 in monetary relief to Wells, Judge Greenleaf ordered significant equitable remedies to protect other disabled Postal Service employees from similar discrimination and reprisal: the Postal Service must provide a minimum of sixteen hours of disability discrimination and reprisal training to all management officials involved in Wells’ case; the Postal Service must take immediate steps to ensure the confidentiality of all of its employees’ medical information; and the Postal Service must post a notice admitting a finding of liability and promising not to discriminate or retaliate against its employees in the future.
Mr. Wells was represented by Stephanie E. Hosea, Esq. of Hosea Legal PLLC, a Washington, D.C. law firm that specializes in representing federal employees in Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) complaints, Merit Systems Protection Board (“MSPB”) appeals, and other legal matters nationwide. More information about Hosea Legal can be found at www.law4work.com. Further information about the EEOC can be found at www.eeoc.gov.
Source: HOSEA LEGAL PLLC