USPS Sued for Disability Discrimination in California

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been sued by a former letter carrier of its Sausalito, California branch. Plaintiff Kian McCarthy had worked for USPS for more than 20 years before filing an employment lawsuit alleging disability discrimination and retaliation.

Understanding the Employment Lawsuit Against USPS

According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, McCarthy was terminated from his position at the Sausalito, California USPS branch in January 2011. He had allegedly been fired for unauthorized use of overtime and unsafe driving. McCarthy, has Asperger’s syndrome and other mental disabilities including depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and avoidant personality disorder. During his lengthy career with USPS, McCarthy was subjected to multiple fitness for duty exams (FDE), where all but one, which was later overturned, found him fit to perform his duties with USPS and not a threat to his coworkers or himself.

USPS Supervisor Discriminated Against McCarthy Because of His Disability

The complaint also alleges that McCarthy’s supervisor repeatedly subjected him to discriminatory behavior. The supervisor would compare McCarthy to another USPS worker who had perpetrated a murder-suicide, and even told another USPS supervisor, “I am deeply concerned for my safety and other employees as well.” These discriminatory behaviors occurred despite no history or evidence to support the supervisor’s fear of McCarthy.

In another incident at the Sausalito USPS branch, McCarthy’s supervisor embarrassed him by deriding his condition and calling him “the fool,” in front of his coworkers during a team pep talk in 2010.

USPS Improperly Disclosed Private Medical Records, Failed to Accommodate

According to the complaint, the USPS also improperly disclosed McCarthy’s confidential medical records, giving postal supervisors access to them. Additionally, a doctor’s report from McCarthy’s fourth FDE in September 2010 stated that USPS should provide him with “workplace support and accommodation” and suggested McCarthy seek private counseling to combat “recurrent problems.”

USPS did nothing to implement the doctor’s reasonable accommodation recommendations or even offer to discuss them, despite knowing about McCarthy’s disabilities. Instead, USPS discriminated against McCarthy and treated him as a threat to others instead of as a valuable employee.

McCarthy is seeking compensation for lost wages, earnings, employee benefits and punitive damages, in addition to a reinstatement to his former letter carrier position.

Employers Must Abide by Reasonable Accommodation Laws

Employers are required by state and federal laws to speak with a disabled employee about any requests for reasonable accommodation. The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) both require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Read the original article on Law Firm News Wire: California USPS Worker Sues for Disability Discrimination

Are you being subjected to disability discrimination at work? If you feel that your California employer has violated your employee rights or reasonable accommodation laws under the FEHA, contact an expert employment attorney at Hennig Ruiz right away. Free consultation.