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Postal workers go into debt when managers claim they were overpaid

May 13, 2022

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Center for Public Integrity

Aniisha Sarkissian said she quit her job delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service because managers wouldn’t pay her for all the hours she worked. Years later the agency told her it was the reverse: that she was overpaid and owed the Postal Service more than $400.

Sarkissian, of Phoenix, is among the dozens of postal workers who contacted the Center for Public Integrity after we published an investigation last year showing that the agency repeatedly underpaid mail carriers without consequences.

In their emails, postal workers told us they were illegally underpaid too. Others pointed to another problem: the Postal Service was garnishing employees’ wages because managers say they were accidentally overpaid. Former postal workers who questioned the overpayments said that unpaid debt has followed them after leaving their jobs, potentially damaging their credit scores and making it harder for them to get loans.

In December and January alone, the Postal Service sent about 3,250 notices to current and former employees about outstanding debts totaling nearly $5 million, according to Public Integrity’s analysis of debt notices obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Debts ranged from 6 cents to $17,000.

Public Integrity requested notices dating back 10 years, but the agency said it keeps these records for just 45 days.

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