(This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of the American Postal Worker)
...as evidenced by those that creep around postal work floors. This new year we re-focus on the harassment and bullying by postal monsters. It takes a postal village to take them on. Every part of our union must pursue these beasts!
They have no right to make your work-life hell. Article 3 of the union contract requires compliance with the contract, laws, and postal regulations. EL 801 1-2; ELM 811.24 requires bosses to maintain good employee relations and ELM 665.24 allows no tolerance of bullying, harassment, or intimidation by anyone at any level. Supervisors must manage their workplace and foster an atmosphere conducive to work, and to avoid behavior that could be interpreted as harassment, per Publication 552.
Why then, do postal monsters exist? Because we tolerate them and fail to pursue them to the bitter end.
Shedding Light on The Fiend
Monsters hate light. We must fully document the bullying, intimidation and harassment via PS 1767. Use it because the Administrative Support Manual (273.132) states,”... To assure postal safety…employees must also report any disturbances or improper conduct on the part of individuals on postal premises.” Bosses may balk at the use of 1767s, but Chap 824 backs its use.
When you fill out a 1767, take a picture or a copy, submit it to the next level manager; copy the safety rep and union representative. The issue should be investigated within the tour of duty. If not, or if it is not abated, it should be grieved at Step 2.
Pursuing the Beast
Expect the monster to push-back against the use of a 1767. ELM 666.17 prohibits bosses from retaliation. Document harassment, bullying and mistreatment. Take notes and ask for help from co-workers. Ensure your officers pursue the matter at Step 2, per Article 14; then to the Safety Committee; then to arbitration. But a grievance is NOT enough!
File an EEO Complaint if harassed or discriminated against. Visit: efile.usps.com. Review the process at eeoc.gov. Although you may seek representation, it is not required, do not give up! But EEO is not enough!
Contact your congressional representatives and request their help addressing the harassment. Give them the facts. Keep copies for use in other forums! But Congress is not enough!
Contact the OIG/Postal Inspectors, ask for an investigation and let them know the facts. Keep copies. If you use the “hotline” don’t expect a response, especially if you call anonymously. Write to them with the facts reporting the misconduct. But the OIG/USPSIS is not enough!
See your doctor if the hostile environment is causing medical strife. Document medical attention received. Management acknowledges in Publication 552 (page 9) that some employees may suffer serious emotional and psychological harm from harassment. Document treatment, as it can be used in your EEOC complaint for compensatory damages. But seeing your doctor is not enough!
File an OWCP Stress Claim if you suffer emotional stress when carrying out your assignment under harassment or mistreatment. Abuse has to be proven to establish the relationship between the medical condition and work. This is done by documentation and a comprehensive medical report that establishes causal relation with what has occurred at work. Once all the required documentation is compiled, file a CA-2 Claim for Occupational Disease at: ecomp.dol.gov.
The Village Has to Commit
The union has to do its part to counter hostile environments. Employees begin the process, and representatives pursue the grievances and Safety Committee agendas. Business Agents elevate the appeals to arbitration and give them priority. Your Regional Coordinators Sharyn Stone, Tiffany Foster, AJ Jones, Yared Wonde and I are committed to assisting you. Your local union reps, the NBAs, and our national leaders document, pursue, and eliminate workplace harassment. It takes a village to get rid of monsters!