On May 5, 2014, the Postal Service mailed to Pittman (aka Walker) EEO class members a Claim Form and Release. Buried in the Release are some severe consequences to be aware of. Pittman EEO class members consist of disabled employees in permanent rehabilitation assignments/limited duty positions whose duty hours during the period from 3-24-2000 to 12-31-2012 were restricted in violation of the Rehabilitation Act, e.g. they were improperly denied straight time hours and overtime.
The Release says, “If any labor union has filed, or files in the future, any grievance(s) (Step 2 or higher) and/or arbitration(s) making claims substantially similar to those made in this Claim for conduct during the class period, I will instruct the union to withdraw any such claims pending at any level of the grievance-arbitration process. In the event that any labor union disregards my instructions, I shall refuse to accept any remuneration or relief for such claims which may be ordered as a result of any such grievance. In the event that I nonetheless receive such remuneration, I shall refund that remuneration to the Agency within 14 days of the receipt of such benefits. The repayment of such funds shall not be a basis for opening or reopening any claim arising from my employment with the Agency through the date that I sign this Release Form. The term ‘remuneration’ shall include, but not be limited to, pay of any kind, annual leave and sick leave. The term ‘relief’ shall include, but not be limited to, restoration of employment with the USPS.”
Note that the employee is waiving restoration of employment with the USPS! The total amount of money to be divided among 40,000 potential claimants is $12 million. Assuming that only half of the potential claimants file a claim, that is an average of $600 each, a pittance for a twelve-year period of disability discrimination! But it gets worse.
If you sign the Pittman Claim Form and Release you also agree to waive other outstanding claims that arose in conjunction with it. This may include MSPB and other EEO issues like hostile work environment, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, or retaliation for prior EEO activity. If you were represented by an attorney in these related claims, by signing this waiver you are agreeing to pay for your own attorney.
Employees of the Postal Service are exempt from 5 U.S. Code 7121(d) and are allowed to file both grievances and EEO complaints. The Pittman EEO settlement interferes with that. It expects the employee to notify the union of their grievance waiver. We know how well that works. Edmond Walker, the original Class Agent, failed to disclose a 2010 legal matter to his own attorneys. The EEO settlement doesn’t specify who in the union is to be notified of the grievance waiver nor does it require that notice to the union be in writing and by Certified mail. It should be the Postal Service that notifies the appropriate union representative promptly of a grievance waiver.
You may have heard of McConnell v. U.S. Postal Service. Class members of the McConnell EEO case are unaffected. It covers disabled employees in permanent rehabilitation assignments/limited duty positions who were subjected to the National Reassessment Process from May 5, 2006 through July 1, 2011. Many employees, including Sandra McConnell, are in both groups. If you have any pending EEO, MSPB or grievance claims involving disability discrimination, be sure to consult with your attorney and union representative before signing the Pittman Claim Form and Release. The deadline for filing is June 19, 2014.
Pittman EEO case documents, but not the Claim Form and Release, are posted online at http://www.pittmanclass.com/, http://www.keepingposted.org/ and http://liteblue.usps.gov/.
Since they failed to include the Claim Form and Release, I have attached a copy here: