Following an OSHA investigation, a Tacoma federal court determined that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wrongfully retaliated against an employee for reporting an injury.
The court's action follows an investigation by OSHA that found the USPS terminated the worker in retaliation for filing an injury report. The agency also determined the USPS stopped conducting performance evaluations and then fired the worker before the end of their new hire probation. The termination violated the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, which protects an employee's right to report injury without fear of reprisal.
On May 1, 2023, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington issued a summary judgment finding that the USPS did retaliate against the employee. The court directed the USPS to remove any negative reference to the employee's protected activity and termination from their personnel record and to provide neutral employment references only.
The court also issued a permanent injunction ordering USPS facilities in Tacoma to give probationary employees who report work-related injuries an equal opportunity to complete probation. This opportunity must include routine performance evaluations based on their medical restrictions and feedback, and/or extended probationary periods if needed.
The injunction also requires the USPS in Tacoma to train all officers, supervisors and employees on federal anti-retaliation regulations, and to notify probationary employees of their rights to report work-related injuries and related medical restrictions without fear of retaliation.