Jury should weigh USPS supervisor’s alleged intimidation, court says
A United States Postal Service supervisor did not interfere with a custodian’s Family and Medical Leave Act leave rights when she intimidated her subordinate, but her behavior may have constituted retaliation, a district court ruled (Mitchell v. DeJoy, No. 2:18-cv-1385 (S.D. Ohio, Sept. 20, 2021)).
At the beginning of 2017, USPS approved the plaintiff’s request to take FMLA leave to deal with chronic back pain and care for her daughter, who has autism, according to court documents. The plaintiff used about 1,000 hours of FMLA leave in about four years. The custodian made claims of age, race and sex discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after she was denied safety captain and temporary supervisor positions. When she asked why USPS denied her the positions, “one supervisor told her that the other supervisors believed she was ‘taking too much time off work’ and ‘exaggerating her daughter’s condition,'” she said.
Less than a week after the custodian filed her initial charge, her supervisor “raised her fist and said, ‘hit your face against this,'” the worker alleged. Two supervisors later backed her into a corner and asked her why she took a break to go to the bathroom before telling her they were going to observe her work.