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.