In 2009, managers started involuntarily drafting employees from their bid jobs to run automated equipment such as the DBCS and AFSM-100 machines. Historically, I had problems with those operations causing inflammation, pain and complications with military service connected injuries for which I have a certified VA disability rating. When they began drafting folks, I submitted a request for reasonable accommodation in writing to my manager at the time. The request, simply asked that due to my existing condition, I asked not to be required to operate automated mail processing equipment. I actually had a decent manager at the time; he looked over the documentation I provided and said that it would be no problem. From November of 2009, I was never required to work in automation, due to the accommodation.
On 31 January, 2015, I was made an unassigned regular, placed in automation. This was without regard for my existing accommodation or my requests that the accommodation be continued. I was purposely and consciously placed into a position that was in violation of an observed accommodation as well as a source of pain and possible further injury. Although I am an unassigned regular, management refuses to allow me to work in a non-automated function, even as they have PSE’s they could swap me with. It is my sincere belief that this action is in direct response to my Whistleblower activities that took place from 2013-2014. Those activities have been thoroughly documented by www.21cpw.com owner/administrator, Randy Zelznick and are available on the site.
With regards to the 2009 request for reasonable accommodation, just because management may not have processed my 2009 reasonable accommodation through proper channels in no way changes the fact that I did 100% what was required of me by law AND in the procedures spelled out by the USPS’s own material provided to me in 2009 and the very materials I received from my managers this year. The requirements for the employee have not changed and I did EXACTLY what was required of me in 2009 when I submitted a request in writing to my managers. THAT is exactly why our managers have upheld the reasonable accommodation up until 31 January, 2015. I sent the following message to management at the local and Mid-America District Level, as all parties are interested in my wellbeing and health at this point [note sarcasm]:
“If you feel that I did not do exactly what was required of me by law and USPS policy in 2009, please advise me so now, so that I may provide witness statements from fellow employees in support of the fact. Please note: I am an unassigned regular.”
Please note the following, as it is the lawful and correct procedural requirement from any USPS employee who requests a reasonable accommodation:
A request for reasonable accommodation may be made orally or in writing by an employee or by someone acting on the employee’s behalf. To request an accommodation, an employee may use plain language and need not mention the Rehabilitation Act or use the phrase “reasonable accommodation.” The employee need only let you know that he or she requires a change at work because of a physical or mental impairment. A family member, friend, or other representative may request reasonable accommodation on behalf of an employee with a disability. However, the Postal Service should deal directly with the employee during the interactive process.
The request for reasonable accommodation can be made to the supervisor or manager or the Manager, Human Resources (District). When you receive an accommodation request, you are responsible for processing that request using the guidance contained in subchapter 22. Alternatively, all districts and areas have Reasonable Accommodation Committees to whom you can refer the request. (If unsure, check with the Manager, Human Resources (District).) In addition, if an employee with a known impairment is observed having difficulty performing essential functions of his or her job because of the impairment, you should initiate the interactive process.
Verbal requests for reasonable accommodation should be documented for local record keeping and to ensure that every request receives a timely decision. (See time frames in subchapter 24 and Exhibit 2-1, Confirmation of Request for Reasonable Accommodation.)
Exception to record-keeping requirements: Once an employee requests and is granted a type of reasonable accommodation that he or she is likely to need on a repeated basis (e.g., an interpreter or computer software that enlarges text), documentation for record-keeping purposes is not required each time the accommodation is needed.
They are trying to say that I did not ever have a reasonable accommodation in place and will likely try to say that management was never made aware of my problems with working on machines. They are covering their asses in the event that I should happen to injured on the machine, which is what did happen on this past Saturday. In November of 2009, I submitted a written request for reasonable accommodation to management. That was 100% of what was required of me.
I am interested in thoughts and advice from the members here at www.21cpw.com.