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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4816
Experience:  Experienced in both state and federal court.
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I work for the US Postal Service. Im a mid-level manager.

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I work for the US Postal Service. I'm a mid-level manager. About a year ago I got a new boss that came from another state. My new boss enjoys yelling at people and treating people like garbage. He is smart enough not use foul language and he always does it when he is going call your attention for any mistake you make. It seems that nobody in our District is willing to stop him on his tracks, due to the fact that the District Manager is his best friend and supports him in all his decisions. I know we are supposed to file a claim within the organization first, before going to court. However, I don't think anybody wants to risk being the first to put a fromal claim within the organization. Is it possible to start class action case without going thru the internal process?

TexLawyer :

Good afternoon. I'll be assisting you with your question.

Customer:

Are you waiting for me?

TexLawyer :

I'm sorry...I was looking something up while I was waiting for you to come online.

TexLawyer :

Is your concern that you will be fired or reprimanded if you make formal complaints through the USPS?

Customer:

Well, the situation is that I have seen my boss going ballistict on several people, and I believe that is absolutely unaceptable and that he must treat everybody with dignity and respect as the Postal Service requires. But if I make the claim alone, I believe he will take a few minor mistakes I make, and make them look like a big issue and use that to fire me, as that will give the impressions he is doing it for the right reason. However, if I can start a class action lawsuit process from the outside, I'm sure I will get at least 8 to 10 people willing to express their experiences with this boss and this will force the Postal Service to take action.

TexLawyer :

OK. There are a few issues with filing a class action lawsuit. First off, your employment requires that you first address the issue through the USPS. If you file suit in district corut before you exhaust your remedies witthin the USPS, the district court will dismiss the case.

TexLawyer :

Second, it is unlikely that a court would certify a group of 8-10 people as a "class" for a class action lawsuit.

TexLawyer :

In order to be certified as a "class," the group of plaintiffs must be so large as to make individual suits impractical (in other words, that the class action is a superior vehicle for resolution than numerous individual suits), and the claims or defenses must be typical of the plaintiffs or defendants.

TexLawyer :

I've never seen a class as small as 8-10 people.

Customer:

What are the chances of taking this issue to the National level. I'm sure we can find hundreds, if not thousands to managers with the same concern.

TexLawyer :

Keep in mind that you do have protection from retaliation by your employer under the NO FEAR Act.

TexLawyer :

You would have to show that this sort of thing is so pervasive among all post offices in the country that individual lawsuits are not practical AND that all the situations are similar enough that all the plaintiffs would have similar claims and defendants would have similar defenses.

TexLawyer :

In an employment situation, that would be extremely difficult to achieve.

Customer:

I know retaliation is illegal. But as I said, there are ways of doing things that can be difficult to prove as retaliation. To give an example, my boss can ask me to do many things in a short period of time, with the intention to make me fail in any of them. Then he comes back at me and takes disciplinary action because I failed to complete something. Then he keeps doing the same thing for a while, and we he proves I failed on several things (that he knew I was going to), he has enough documentation that his action is backed up by facts and it doesn't have anything to do with retaliation. I've seen this happen to many times.

TexLawyer :

I agree, retaliation is difficult to prove. However, Congress has set up the framework in which these issues are to be addressed. Your situation, while egregious, is not so far outside the norm of these types of cases that a court would bypass the process.

TexLawyer :

I don't mean to trivalize your situation, but I don't see a way around the normal process.

Customer:

That's a shame. Giving the organization the power to be their own judge is not going to solve this type of issues. But that's not your fault. Thank you very much for the advice.

TexLawyer :

Glad to help. Keep in mind that once you go through the process with the USPS, you can then file in district court.

TexLawyer :

So, while they do get to police themselves, they ultimately may have to answer to the court system.

TexLawyer :

Do you have any questions?

Customer:

No, I guess that answers all my questions for now. Thank you.

TexLawyer :

Glad to help.

TexLawyer :

If I can't do anythign else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer. Good luck.

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