When Postal Employees Are Injured on the Job
Federal Workers’ Comp Lawyers for Injured U.S.P.S. Employees
Aumiller Lomax Discusses FECA Procedure for Postal Workers
U.S. Postal employees face some of the toughest challenges for OWCP claims out of any federal agency. At Aumiller Lomax, we work with injured employees through the USPS federal workers’ compensation process to ensure they meet and file by the appropriate deadlines. The Postal Service has a history of denying benefit claims, and we are prepared to fight for the benefits promised to you if you are injured or contract a disease while at work. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Postal Employees Are at High Risk for Injury
Postal workers are at risk of severe injury every day they report to work. Delivery workers on their feet for hours a day, carrying heavy loads of mail, and in danger of chance encounters with dogs, icy sidewalks, and motor vehicles have much to watch out for. But even those who don’t work on a delivery route are under intense physical strain from separating large volumes of mail and operating heavy sorting equipment. This type of labor can result in nerve damage, spinal injuries, torn ligaments, and more. Many times, injuries aren’t suffered from one incident or at a specific point in time, but they are the result of continued heavy labor, repetitive movements, and strenuous conditions over weeks, months, or even years. According to U.S. Labor Department data, Postal Service employees only make up one-fifth of the federal workforce, but they suffered roughly half of all the federal workplace injuries in 2019.
Discrimination Against Injured U.S. Postal Workers
The U.S. Postal Service has a history of discriminating against employees who are injured on the job. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a five-year investigation into a class-action complaint by postal workers that claimed the U.S. Postal Service was targeting employees injured at work. The widespread practice of discriminating against employees who had been injured on the job resulted in 44,000 employees who lost jobs, either fired or forced to resign under immense pressure. Another 15,000 employees had their work duties or medical condition accommodations changed and were the victim of the illegal dissemination of private medical information of their injuries.
An Unwelcome Return to Work
Even employees who were able to return to work and perform valuable services and necessary job tasks for the post office were treated unfairly and faced a hostile work environment. In the findings of the case, a judge ruled the post office was specifically targeting injured employees. Those who returned to work with reassigned positions providing them with essential job functions to perform that accommodated their injury faced a harsh reality. Even though there was work that needed to be done, these workers were either fired or forced out. The discrimination was blatant when these positions needed to be refilled after the injured employees were gone.
The Postal Service’s Continued Fight Against Injured Employees
Unfortunately, even after the EEOC ruled the Postal Service was targeting and eliminating injured workers, they continue to fight the claim and put the onus back on the injured workers. They argue the employees never provided enough proof of the injuries. While the Postal Service ended their practice of targeting employees in 2011, many of the thousands who were victims in the ploy are still dealing with consequences a decade later through permanent disability, emotional strain, and financial harm.
The Difficulties Obtaining Federal Workers’ Compensation
The U.S. Department of Labor supplies employers with tools to educate employees on filing for postal service workers’ compensation benefits. They also make this information available on their website. So, why is it so hard to receive compensation? In the case of the U.S. Postal Service, their unfair treatment of injured employees is because federal workers’ comp benefits cost them money. The primary purpose behind their elimination strategy was cost savings. However, employers should never put money and finances ahead of an employee’s well-being or ability to earn a living. The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) was passed to ensure that does not happen.
Our USPS Federal Workers’ Comp Lawyers Work for You
Laws have been passed to assist employees when they’re hurt at work, but the FECA procedures are very specific about the steps that need to be taken and the timeframe in which they must be completed. At Aumiller Lomax, we handle federal work injury cases exclusively and are experienced with the challenges that postal employees face. The steps to file a claim a postal worker who is injured while at work should take are:
- Report it to Your Supervisor – As soon as it occurs, any job-related injury, illness, or disease caused or related to your employment should be reported.
- Obtain Medical Care – If your injury doesn’t require emergency treatment, you should ask your supervisor to authorize medical treatment using a CA-16 form. Bring that form as well as an OWCP-1500/HCFA-1500 form with you to the medical provider when seeking your treatment.
- File a Written Notice – You must file written notice of your injury to your supervisor within 30 days on an employee-agency supplied form. For a traumatic injury, fill out the CA-1 form. If it’s an occupational disease case, use form CA-2.
- Obtain Receipt of Notice – Whether you file a CA-1 or a CA-2, a notice of receipt should be completed and attached to it by your supervisor after you file. Your supervisor should provide you with a copy. Request one if it is not provided.
- Submit a Claim for Continuation of Pay, Leave, or Compensation for Wage Loss – Our attorneys can help you understand what you are eligible for and how you should file. However, it is essential to understand that there are strict deadlines for each of these filings.
What Am I Owed?
OWCP benefits don’t have a set capped limit. They are available for as long as you need them, and our attorneys will work to ensure you receive benefits for as long as you are eligible based on your injury. Settlements can include wage compensation due for lost time at work, payment for continuing medical treatment for the injuries, a permanent injury award, and continuation of pay. Benefits can include medical, death, and temporary disability. The critical thing to understand is that every situation is unique, every injury is different, and job functions vary. Each of these will play a role in your settlement.
Speak with Federal Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today
The attorneys at Aumiller Lomax represent postal worker employees nationwide who have been injured at work. Postal workers face many challenges receiving benefits, and often, the discrimination they face at work when they return can make conditions unbearable. If you need a lawyer to fight the USPS, contact our office to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have represented over 2,000 clients on FECA matters alone and will give your case the attention and representation it deserves.