USPS threatened Postmaster with “life changing” criminal charges after he filed an EEO complaint

10thcirLast month we told you about a USPS maintenance employee who was thrown in jail and labelled a terrorist after he reported a carbon monoxide leak at a postal facility. Now comes another story of apparent retaliation, this time involving Marvin Green, the former Postmaster of Englewood, CO, who was put on leave without pay, and threatened with “life-changing” criminal charges after he was denied a promotion and complained of discrimination. In addition, a court found that a USPS Labor Relations Manager destroyed evidence that might have helped Green’s case.

As a result, Green retired: “Shortly after being put on leave, he signed a settlement agreement with the Postal Service that provided him paid leave for three and a half months, after which he could choose either to retire or to work in a position that paid much less and was about 300 miles away. Ultimately, he decided to retire. He then filed a complaint against Defendant Patrick Donahoe, the Postmaster General, in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, alleging five retaliatory acts in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”

From last week’s Appeals Court decision:

Green, who describes himself as a black American, began working for the Postal Service in 1973. He was a manager for 25 years, including 14 years as a postmaster.

From 2002 until his retirement in 2010, he was the postmaster at the Englewood, Colorado, post office. At the time of the pertinent events, he had no disciplinary report in his permanent file.

In early 2008 a postmaster position opened in Boulder. Green applied for the position, but his supervisor, Gregory Christ, selected a Hispanic instead. In August 2008, Green filed a formal charge with the Postal Service’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office, alleging that he had been denied a promotion because of his race. That November, after the EEO Office had completed its investigation, Green requested a hearing before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The matter was settled.

In May 2009, Green filed an informal EEO charge alleging that the Postal Service had begun retaliating against him for his prior EEO activity. He alleged that Christ, his supervisor, had threatened, demeaned, and harassed him. He filed a similar informal charge in July, alleging that Christ and Jarman Smith, who had replaced Christ as Green’s supervisor, had threatened, demeaned, and harassed him because of his race and his EEO activity regarding the Boulder position. In August the Postal Service’s EEO Office completed its investigation of the May and July charges. It informed Green that he could file a formal charge, but he did not do so.

Then things got ugly.

In November 2009, Green received a letter at his home from Charmaine Ehrenshaft, who was the Postal Service’s Manager of Labor Relations for his district.

The letter instructed Green “to appear for an investigative interview regarding allegations of non-compliance in the grievance procedure.” The letter provides no specifics, but Defendant claims that Green was derelict in his handling of employee grievances between April and December of 2009, resulting in multiple adverse decisions that required the Postal Service to pay damages and penalties to grievants.

Green asserts that he and his facility managers had contacted the appropriate person for assistance with the grievances but that the person would not help.

Ehrenshaft and her supervisor, David Knight, the Manager of Human Resources, conducted the investigative interview on December 11, 2009. Green was represented by Robert Podio of the National Association of Postmasters. During the interview Knight asked Green about the processing of grievances, about allegations that he had intentionally delayed the mail by failing to timely sign and return receipts for certified letters related to the grievances, and about allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee.

When the interview ended, two agents from the Postal Service Office of the Inspector General (OIG) arrived. Knight instructed Green to meet with them. The OIG, an independent branch of the Postal Service, had initiated its own investigation into delay of the mail, which can be a federal crime.

Knight and Ehrenshaft reappeared when the OIG interview ended. They gave Green a letter informing him that under the Postal Service’s emergency-placement policy he was “placed in off-duty status immediately” because of “[d]isruption of day-to-day postal operations.” It stated that under the policy “[t]he employee is returned to duty status when the cause for nonpay status ceases.” Knight ordered Green to surrender his Postal Service identification and cell phone and not to return to the Englewood post office. Unknown to Green, the OIG agents had concluded at the end of the interview that Green had not intentionally delayed the mail. The next day, Podio began negotiating with Knight to resolve the matter. During negotiations Knight e-mailed Podio that the OIG was “all over” the delay-of-mail issue and that “the criminal issue could be a life changer.”

In addition to using agents of the OIG to put pressure on Green, USPS management apparently destroyed evidence that might have helped him: the District Court “found that [Colorado District Manager of Labor Relations Charmaine] Ehrenshaft had in bad faith destroyed records of postal employees charged with misconduct similar to that alleged against Green.”

The district court dismissed Green’s claims, but the tenth circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reinstated the two claims related to unpaid leave, sending the case back to the lower court.

  • adventurebvpu

    So, tell me all you postal worms. What does it feel like to work for a regime that calls itself the USPS.

  • Service my eye!

    Sounds so very familiar. Corporate corruption at its worst. Yet, those at the highest can commit federal crimes, be caught dead to rights, remain in a pay status through a “just kidding termination” and remain on the rolls in a pay status until eligible to retire. Yep, certain employees are targeted for career assassination in code named plots such as “Plan Omega.”

  • Brian

    Something happens to a person when they become a postal manager…they not only sell their souls to the devil, but they assume the mentality that it is alright to lie and do whatever it takes to make a very marginal disciplinary charge turn into a literal death sentence. Why these criminals cannot be charged for slander/libel is beyond me.

  • postal worker bruce

    Over the past 200 years, every manager in the postal service made sure that every manager under him was just a little bit dumber so not to threaten his job. We are now to the point where most managers have the mentality of a box of rocks.

  • acronymonious

    You have no idea who you are talking about. Marvin got what he deserved.

  • cwhocares

    Well, they hired you. How far down the “dumber” chain does that make you? I’m sure you have some data to backup that claim. (Putz)

  • postal worker bruce

    every consolidation, every grievance, and anyone who ever worked at the post office will back that up…..but go ahead and defend the morons that make up the management of the postal service if it makes you feel just a little bit smarter ….

  • ronna

    Absolutely….postal worker Bruce….

  • ronna

    I’m a retiree and NEVER LOOKED BACK….although I miss my co workers….the post office and kiss my ass….really.

  • ronna

    Alot of them will tell you to go ahead and file a grievance while they KNOW what they are doing is against the rules… UNreal what goes on the PO….absolutely disgusting…

  • Idiots in charge 101

    You just hit the nail on the head Delano; if the federal government would initiate practices like yours idiot managers would think twice if the money was coming out of their pocket. Unfortunately that will never happen because the zombie leaders will always back their cronies.

  • Luke

    It is the Peter Principle, from the book “In Search of Excellance”. To run a good business, hire people smarter than you, but in the Post Office, do the opposite. In fact, the PO does the opposite of every successful business, don’t they?

  • cwhocares

    Now let’s see…. Whose idea was it to reduce the workforce like they have during the past few years? Whose idea was it to bring on more automation to process the mail faster? Whose idea was it to reduce office time through automation and increase the carrier street time? I don’t think it was the NALC, APWU, NAPS, NAPUS, or the NRLCA. It was management. I’ll be the first to agree that management was top heavy but, they have reduced their numbers as well. And, if these things were not done, you (Postal worker Bruce and Ronna) might very well be unemployed. These reductions were done WITHOUT layoffs. The very people you you ridicule are probably the same ones that have kept the Postal Service viable and you employed.

  • matt

    Before automation I had a route with 957 stops I would case for a little more than 2 hours in the morning. We book our flat tied down case our letters tied down again then grab parcels and hit the street with 2 bundles ready to be delivered. I was normal back in the office ready to go home 30 miss before my eight hour was up, so I would use the 701 rule and go home with full eight hours of pay. (YEAR 1997). Now with automation I have a route with 689 stops I case mail for 1:10 min a day the grab dps parcels and hit the street. Now with dps or automated letter it take longer on the street to deliver less stops. Three out of five days a week I get 15 to 20 min overtime and with the elimination of the 701 rule why kill yourself to get back. How has those decisions that management has made increase the value of the employee to the company. Because let be honest the carriers (rural and city) and clerks are what make this place tick! We alway laugh when management isn’t at the office ” The work still get done”!!!

  • Mike Okey

    cwhocares is an obvious management slackard. Matt, we have always wondered what the place would be with real, qualified, intelligent managers, instead of the inbreds who keep the management to worker ratio at around 1:5, instead of 1:20 like most businesses have. Thankfully, the carriers and clerks, and low level postmasters, all have a great work ethic, and we make this place run despite the roadblocks that postal management throws in our way. Whocares brings up the masterful decisions to bring in more automation and downsizing, but only a moron would bring in more automation to sort letters, knowing the volume of letters is dropping. The majority of letters run on sorting equipment now is presorted mail, which is heavily discounted due to said presorting, and should NEVER be run on sorting equipment as this negates any savings made by presortation. But, that is another management decision, and it seems the more we automate, the more managers we get, and the more overtime is used.

  • matt

    I understand that paying me overtime is cheaper than hiring. The point I was making is I used to deliver 300 more stops in less time before automation. When dps came into our office we went from 5.5 routes to 8 full routes which increase the number of employees to deliver the same number of stops( 1999). Over the last 15 years that had correct a little we now have 7 full time routes which is still 1.5 higher than pre dps. Booked flat two bundle delivery was so much quicker and easier to deliver than the current delivery style the post office forces use to use. Give carriers so incentives to push themselves with the option to carry they way they feel is quicker you might see a more productive work force! Just saying!! Enjoy retirement. I have 19.5 to go. They joys of starting at age 19! Lol

  • prayer from the lord

    black employees will always be treat unfair in the united state postal service in this today world they want all black mail carriers to work for free without getting paid but in the new gps tracking system the postmaster can pay 100 employees that are in manager to go on the streets to follower carriers all day long then when they say they out of money they call on congress to bailed them out of the hold our new postmaster need to take time and look at each states and city and look at how many millions billions of dollars you spend everyday to managers lead supervisor who follow carriers everyday but because most mail carriers are 93% black they do not look at whats really going in the united states postal office we use to have oig team for harshment postmaster have blocked them for coming into certain city so they dont get caught its sad that three things usps use to didnt put up with sexuall assaults in the work place m,anagers put they finger in an employees face tamper with clockringers all this have been throw after the door what happen to our usps its just gone i been abused for a long time just for doing something right but believed me oig team can not protect you if you reported anything to them our city is number three on the FBI for as crimes going on in our city manager do not cares how they attack you we have had three carriers in the last three month to have a gun pull on them while out deliver mail in an apartment complex its sad that we can get new area mangers in our city i wish that the new postmaster general will tranfers these three area manger we got 10,000 miles away to another state they are bad seed and i guess you all wonder why we got three they make rules as they go

  • Joe Moss

    Nashville, Tn “Inspector Generals” are a mess.. RUDE and Bulling sorta describes one. PITIFUL!

  • loveanimals

    its how it works with these management… they think they can do whatever they want because they got promoted so many times by kissing you know what and who you know… those of us who know more than them get shoved…. everyone within USPS knows it.

  • Rudy

    If we’re all that unhappy we should all go work for WallMart…weekends, holidays, nights at $10.00/hour.

  • Envee43

    I think they would be unhappy there as well! Happy jobs are really difficult to come by. Happy is hard to come by. If you look at random people working or not working not many happy faces.

  • The boss

    So you want to be in Management. Welcome to the real world of business. Managers do not have a “union” to hide behind. Managers must do their level best to keep their bosses happy. This Postmaster violated that rule by trying to force a promotion. We all know the system and yes it’s not always fair, but try to go against it you see what happened to this PM. Keep this in mind as you seek higher level positions.