Working toward Stamping out Workplace Discrimination and Harassment at the Post Office

By Spector, Sommer | National NOW Times, Spring 2001 | Go to article overview

Working toward Stamping out Workplace Discrimination and Harassment at the Post Office


Spector, Sommer, National NOW Times


In San Antonio, Texas, 22 women and one man report sexual harassment and sex discrimination at the hands of local United States Postal Service (USPS) management. They also charge retaliation for filing complaints or testifying on a coworker's behalf. Four women postal employees in New York say they have endured retaliatory actions as a result of sexual harassment complaints. Several women postal workers in California report sexual harassment, sex and race discrimination, wrongful termination and even rape. They also claim retaliation by management for filing complaints.

These are just a few of the 50 plus complaints the National Organization for Women has received regarding USPS workplace abuses. Since the USPS has been named NOW's most recent Merchant of Shame, the complaints of discrimination and harassment keep coming.

More than 900,000 people are employed by the U.S. Postal Service. While postal workers comprise less than a third of the federal workforce, they file half of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaints. According to David Grinberg, an EEOC spokesperson, over 14,000 complaints were filed with the EEOC against the U.S. Postal Service in 1998 alone.

Allegations have ranged from a hostile work environment, sex, race, age and religious discrimination, and wrongful termination, to sexual harassment, violence and in the case of Stoll v. Runyon, rape. After filing a complaint of managerial misconduct or testifying on another employee's behalf, many postal workers report that retaliatory measures were taken against them, such as harassment, demotion, relocation, loss of pay and being passed over for promotion. Many workers suffer from physical pain acquired as a result of repetitive motion and lifting heavy materials. Yet, they fear taking medical leave to heal. Mental health has deteriorated into depression and destructive behavior as a result of workplace abuse.

"I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't want my 34 cent stamps to support a system that allows such workplace abuses to run rampant. …

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