United States Postal Service workers have a unique position within the federal government, as they are employed by a quasi-federal agency. When it comes to addressing discrimination or harassment claims, the layers of administrative services can seem overwhelmingly complicated.
Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not consider postal workers to be federal employees, they receive federal benefits and must comply with federal rules. The postal service was created by the U.S. Constitution, and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of Congress concerning the rules and regulations for its operations and personnel. The USPS also does not receive tax dollars but is funded from the sale of stamps and supplies.
Federal protections against discrimination or harassment
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces prohibitions against employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as a body of other laws outlining specific protections. The EEOC is tasked with the interpretation and enforcement of these protections not only in the private sector, but also in the federal as well as state and local government employment.
These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of:
- race, color or sex
- national origin
- age, disability and genetic information
- reprisal for protected activity
The Civil Services Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA) protects federal workers and applicants from discrimination in personnel actions based on similar factors. In addition, federal agencies have procedures in place for filing discrimination or harassment claims through Executive Orders, including filing dual complaints under the Title VII and Executive Order processes where appropriate.
U.S. postal workers have the option under the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) process to file a harassment or discrimination claim that violates federal anti-discrimination laws.
The postal service policy on workplace harassment offers the following procedures to employees for filing a claim:
- Report the incident(s) to the employee’s manager or supervisor, or the Human Resources manager
- Employees who are members of a bargaining unit such as the American Postal Workers Union may seek relief through grievance-arbitration procedures
- Criminal conduct should be reported to the Postal Inspection Service or appropriate law enforcement.
If you are a U.S. postal service employee in Southern California who has suffered workplace discrimination, it is essential to have skilled legal representation that is experienced in dealing with the regulations and processes of federal agencies, and will fight to protect your rights.