Federal Court Dismisses Spokane Postal Service Employee’s Discrimination Case

Spokane– Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that United States District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. dismissed a discrimination case filed against the U.S. Postal Service by Justin Harter, a former temporary employee.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Harter, a resident of Missoula, Montana who has American Indian/Alaska Native heritage, worked as a temporary Postal Support Employee (PSE) during the 2014 holiday season at the U.S. Postal Service’s Processing and Distribution Center near the Spokane Airport. Harter and several other temporary PSEs were let go after the Christmas holiday season. In 2015, Harter applied for temporary holiday positions with the U.S. Postal Service but was not rehired.

Harter filed a complaint with the Postal Service’s Equal Employment Opportunity Office (EEO) claiming race and gender discrimination. After the EEO found no discrimination, Harter filed suit in federal court. Harter’s civil complaint alleged race and gender-based discrimination, breach of employment contract, and use of prohibited practices by the Postal Service.

In dismissing Harter’s race and gender-based discrimination claims, Judge Mendoza found Harter had not produced evidence that he suffered an adverse employment action connected to gender discrimination or that the Postal Service treated him differently because of his race. Judge Mendoza also concluded the Postal Service had articulated a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for not rehiring Harter in 2015. Judge Mendoza dismissed Harter’s breach of contract and prohibited practices claims in November/December 2017.

U.S. Attorney Harrington said, “Claims of employment discrimination in federal employment are taken seriously. But when meritless lawsuits are brought, our office is dedicated to vigorously defending those suits and protecting the public purse.”

This case was defended by Rudy J. Verschoor, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.