Despite finding no discrimination, court holds USPS liable for retaliation

January 9, 2019

  • The firing of a long-time postal police worker for sleeping on the job was retaliation for her discrimination complaint, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court has ruled (Anderson v. Brennan, Postmaster General, Nos. 17-2162, 17-2170 (1st Cir., Dec. 14, 2018)).
  • Diping Anderson, a postal police officer (PPO) who was raised in China, faced discipline that was disproportionate and retaliatory because two other PPOs who allegedly fell asleep on duty regularly were not fired and were allowed to retire. In light of the “lax treatment of similarly situated white PPOs,” the court said, Anderson’s removal supported a claim of retaliation, especially taking into account that Anderson was fired six months after she made a discrimination complaint, the court said. It also noted that termination of PPOs was rare and that the interactions between Anderson and her supervisors had become strained, with the supervisors allegedly commenting that her EEO complaints were “distasteful.”
  • The appeals court agreed with the trial court that Anderson was not discriminated against, but did suffer retaliation after alleging discrimination.

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