APWU: NRP “eliminated” in name only

From the American Postal Workers Union:

An internal USPS document indicating that the reassessment of Limited Duty and Rehabilitation employees concluded on Jan. 31, 2011, is not cause for celebration, Human Relations Director Sue Carney says, because the National Reassessment Process (NRP) seems to have been eliminated in name only.

“Despite the declaration, we continue to receive numerous calls regarding work-hour withdrawals and recurrence claims,” she said. “Compounding suspicions that NRP has been eliminated in name only is a USPS field document that says existing limited-duty assignments will continue to be altered; asserts that revised NRP documents will be used prospectively, and specifies the agency will continue to rely upon the Electronic Search System to document its search efforts.”

The July 1 letter from the USPS Employee Resource Management Department was sent to USPS Area Vice Presidents.

To date, the APWU has received no notice from the Postal Service regarding changes to the NRP, Carney said.

Click here for more information.

via Management’s NRP Letter No Cause for Celebration.

USPS says NRP ended in January

In a letter dates July 1, 2011, USPS Employee Resource Management Vice President Deborah Giannoni-Jackson advised the Area Vice Presidents that the National Reassessment Program (NRP) ended on January 31 of this year.

NRP was an effort to reduce the number of limited duty employees in the USPS by either getting such employees back to full duty, or failing that, to resign or retire.

The USPS faces a class action suit by many of those employees, and has also had to defend the process in actions before the Merit Systems Protection Board. The lawsuit was cited in the Postal Service’s most recent Quarterly Financial Report as a material risk factor:

On January 14, 2010, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Office of Federal Operations certified a class action case against the Postal Service in a matter captioned McConnell v. Potter (first instituted in 2006), with the class consisting of all permanent rehabilitation employees and limited duty employees who have been subjected to the National Reassessment Process (NRP) from May 5, 2006 to the present.

The Postal Service used the NRP to ensure that its records were correct and that employees receiving workers’ compensation benefits were placed in jobs consistent with their abilities. The case alleges violations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 resulting from the NRP’s failure to provide a reasonable accommodation, the NRP’s wrongful disclosure of medical information, the creation by the NRP of a hostile work environment, and the NRP’s adverse impact on disabled employees. The class is seeking injunctive relief and damages of an uncertain amount on behalf of a yet undetermined, but very large number of employees. If the plaintiffs were able to prove their allegations in this matter and to establish the damages they assert, then an adverse ruling could have a material impact on the Postal Service. However, the Postal Service disputes the claims and intends to vigorously contest the matter.

While the financial statement refers to NRP in the past tense, it’s interesting to note that the USPS’s Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations, filed just a month before NRP supposedly ended, implies that the program is ongoing:

The National Reassessment Process is a key initiative for reviewing the status of employees in rehabilitation and limited-duty assignments at the end of each year.