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Supervisor’s testimony credible in post office worker injury case

Posted On: Jan. 25, 2021 12:29 PM CST

postal service

The Occupational Safety and Review Commission upheld its directive on Friday that an administrative law judge must decide whether two mail carriers could prove that they were terminated as a result of filing injury claims.

In Secretary of Labor v. U.S. Postal Service, the commission reviewed the credibility of the testimony of the mail carriers’ supervisors at the request of the Secretary of Labor, and affirmed its earlier decision after holding that the witnesses were credible.

In 2017, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued the Postal Service a citation for an other-than-serious violation for allegedly violating a recordkeeping regulation prohibiting employers from discharging or discriminating against workers for reporting a work-related injury or illness after two workers claimed they were suspended for reporting workplace injuries.

In July, the commission reversed and remanded a decision to vacate the citation, leaving it up to an administrative law judge to determine whether the testimony provided by the mail carriers was credible. The Secretary of Labor then filed a petition for discretionary review of the credibility of the testimony of the postal workers’ supervisor and a labor relations specialist.

The commission affirmed its earlier decision. Although the acting manager said he was unable to recall many details, which the secretary argued discredited his testimony, the commission found that his reasons for his inability to recall certain events, including dual nature of his job as both a manager and mail carrier and the fact that he was reassigned to manage different posts offices frequently, were plausible and compelling.

As a result, the court found that the evidence supported the manager’s claim that he did not take action against two postal workers solely for reporting work-related injuries, but rather because he believed they both performed unsafe acts. The court also affirmed its earlier conclusion that the labor relations specialist, not the supervisor, approved the discipline of the post office workers, and also found no evidence to suspect his testimony was uncredible.