Federal Court Rules USPS Wrongfully Fired Injured Probationary Worker in Oregon (Department of Labor)

Federal Court Rules USPS Wrongfully Fired Injured Probationary Worker in Oregon

Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 Legislation & Regulation Litigation Risk Management Workers' Compensation

In a significant legal decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon ruled that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wrongfully terminated a probationary mail carrier shortly after they reported a workplace injury. Following a two-day bench trial, Judge Adrienne Nelson ordered USPS to pay $141,307 in lost wages and damages for emotional distress.

The case involved a probationary employee who reported a leg injury to their supervisor and filed an accident report. USPS terminated the worker 21 days later, just 11 days before the end of their probationary period. The court found this action to be discriminatory and retaliatory, based on evidence that USPS failed to follow its own policies and procedures, including the timely evaluation of probationary employees.

This judgment follows an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and litigation by the Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor after administrative settlement efforts failed. Since 2020, the Department of Labor has filed nine federal lawsuits against USPS for similar wrongful terminations in various states, highlighting a pattern of retaliatory actions against probationary employees who report injuries.

Marc Pilotin, the Regional Solicitor of Labor in San Francisco, condemned USPS’s actions, stating that such terminations cause significant harm to employees and their families. The Oregon ruling is part of a broader effort by the Department of Labor to combat retaliation and ensure systemic changes at USPS to protect workers who report injuries.


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External References & Further Reading
https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/sol/sol20240522-0

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