Skip to comments.9th Circuit Court Rules Employers Can Be Sued for Harassment by Customers
Posted on 08/13/2005 8:10:51 PM PDT by Vigilanteman
In an interesting case study here, a postal worker is allowed to sue the U.S. Postal Service for harrassment because a customer allegedly threatened her (with an implicit reference to the locale being a "redneck town") for being zealous in enforcing postal regulations.
Click on the link to see the .pdf file. What is interesting here is that there appeared to be major friction between the postmaster of the town and the customers, resulting in administrative leave against the plantiff.
The postal worker in question was, in fact, the postmaster of the office where the incidents occurred. As the highest ranking employee there, just who is supposed to prevent harassment by customers? This is not a case of a drunken patron pinching a waitress behind while the restaurant manager looks on approvingly.
The postal service action against this postmaster is, by all appearances, based on her management of the office and not her ethnic group. The lower court agrees with the USPS. The postmaster appeals and the 9th circuit agrees with her!
Click the link for a .pdf version of another case of the 9th Circuit run amock!
i'm so confused.
This is nuts! The boss sues the company because the customers don't like the boss?
Short version goes like this.
Hispanic woman is appointed postmaster of a small town in Oregon.
She doesn't get along with her employees, her community or her customers.
She enforces bureaucratic edicts like returning to sender a parcel addressed to "Bill's Bar and Grill, Williamina, Oregon" because it lacks a street address or zip code even though the local postman knows where it should be delivered.
The area supervisor evidently asks her to lighten up a bit, use common sense and improves her management skills.
She instead claims everyone is out to get her because of her ethnic background, citing comments from customers and others in the community.
Given her attitude, things get worse. The area supervisor puts her on administrative leave to figure out what to do next.
She sues. The court decides the supervisor's action is justified because the problems have everything to do with her poor management of the situation and nothing to do with her ethnic background.
She appeals. The 9th Circuit sides with her, evidently figuring it is the responsibility of the community, customers and employees to adapt to the new postmaster and her area supervisor is negligent in not forcing them to do so.
That's the skinny as I read it. If there is a lawyer out there who would like to shed further light on the subject, please do so.
It doesn't work for me.
Then, click on the sidebar on the left halfway down the page labeled "California Alert."
These two agencies should have acted in some way to protect the postmaster (or any other postal employee) from harrassment by "customers" ~ after all, it's a felony to harrass or threaten a postal employee on the job.
Not sure if her lawyer used that quite obvious claim ~ the Inspectors should have acted ~ but if he didn't, I'll give him a call Monday and make sure he does so in any new action he plans initiating.
Thanks! That worked.
Nothing surprises me that comes out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Berkely.
A criminal case can be developed against Williams and several of these customers for conspiring to deprive the US Government of lawful fees for services.
I probably know the Postal attorney who found herself defending this crap in court ~ she should seek new employment because this is NOT a personnel situation but a criminal situation calling for involvement of the Postal Inspection Service.
I had to put up with this crap from postal lawyers for 38 years ~ don't get me wrong, there are some good people there, but almost to a man, or woman, they will bow down and kiss the buttocks of virtually any personnel executive.
We once had a fire at USPS Headquarters (circa 1983). It burned out Personnel and the Law Department.
Except for the inconvenience to everyone else, the general agreement was that it couldn't have happened to a more deserving group.
They have not gotten better!~
Of course!. All the mess is a racial thing!!!!!. I wonder why I, being a foreigner and having a strong accent, I haven't noticed racial harrassment against me. Maybe because I am not a jerk?.
However, in reading the case, these issues were appentages and the playing of the race card was central. There is simply not enough written to conclude that this was her idea or the idea of her counsel.
Nor is there any supporting evidence other than her allegations to conclude the threats actually took place. The local media "commented" about her accent. If this can be considered a threat, then the fact that I find Tony Blair's accent different from, say, John Bolton's could be considered I'm bigoted against Englishmen.
We have a post mistress here that has managed to alienate just about all the residents of the town.
The local postmaster of our town was an affimrative action appointment. The regional postmaster is headquartered in Gary, Indiana. If you familiar with gary Indiana it is aprox 95% black. You can guess what type of person they might be. Well the city and many of the surrounding rural cities have postmasters all apointed by the same inept postmaster from gary based soley on.............well not leadership skills. FYI we have lots of problems with the post office here as far as mail coming late. The problem is they are short staffed and the postmaster erefuses to hire people and lets all the women go home early.
"The Ninth Circus is nothing more than a filthy reststop on the turnpike to the Supreme Court. Stop there only if you have to, avoid eye contact, do your business, and get out of there as quickly as you can." - - Lancey Howard
Based on the fact that the 9th is overturned more than it's upheld, I'd say their ruling is a clear indication of the USPS's being in the right.
The trial court screwed up, so she gets another trial. It's a good decision. But man, what a bunch of freaks in that town. She needs to get the heck out of there.
Read the actual decision. It's short and informative.
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