A former U.S. Postal Service employee in South Carolina can depose fact witnesses in-person in her sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit, after a federal court rejected the renewed contention that the witnesses ought to be deposed virtually because of Covid-19.
Mail carrier Kanzora Robinson sued in December 2018. She said Eastover, S.C., postmaster Kertina Epps retaliated, culminating in her termination, when she complained that a male co-worker was sexually harassing her.
Robinson sought live deposition testimony from Epps and other witnesses, but the USPS objected.
The parties reached an impasse on the issue and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina sided with Robinson in October. The court ordered the witnesses to appear in-person and for the parties to conduct the depositions in accordance with Center for Disease Control-recommended pandemic safety guidelines, which include mask wearing and social distancing.
The witnesses refused to appear and the court issued an emergency ruling last week reaffirming its prior order.
But the USPS still balked at producing Epps and mail carrier Candace Barber for in-person testimony. The two had special Covid-19 related concerns that made it proper for them to testify virtually, the agency said in seeking a protective order