By Julia Deng – August 25, 2015
PECOS, Texas – A group of U.S. Postal Service mail carriers accused a Pecos postmaster of racial discrimination, civil rights advocates and union leaders said.
According to grievances filed with LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, postmaster David Neilon allegedly instructed Pecos Post Office employees not to speak Spanish and made derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants.
“There’s no post office rule about what language they should be speaking at work,” said LULAC director Ruben Ramirez. “He held a meeting with eight of them and said, ‘Once you cross that border, you’re not supposed to be speaking Spanish anywhere… not just the post office, but everywhere… Being a supervisor for the U.S. Postal Service, it’s very inappropriate how he let that out.”
A number of postal customers in Pecos only speak Spanish or are most comfortable speaking Spanish, he added.
Neilon could not be reached for comment.
National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) representatives said he was “off the clock” and had not returned to work for several days. Post office supervisors could not confirm if the postmaster had been suspended or elected to take a leave of absence.
“[The mail carriers] told me they want him fired,” said Ramirez. “This is an outrage for the whole community.”
U.S. Postal Service representative Robert Sam Bolen sent the following statement to NewsWest 9:
“It is the policy of the U.S. Postal Service not to publicly discuss internal administrative actions taken with its employees and managers. However, it is important to note that we take all allegations of racial discrimination very seriously and we fully investigate all complaints. The Postal Service is unequivocal in its opposition to all forms of discrimination, including harassment based on color, sex, national origin, religion, age, physical or mental disability, or in reprisal for participating in Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) activity. All postal employees must refrain from practicing or tolerating discrimination or harassment. Employees found to have taken actions that violate this policy and our country’s EEO laws may be subject to corrective action up to and including removal from the Postal Service.”