USPS postmaster general wins summary judgment on final claim in discrimination suit

By Charmaine Little | May 10, 2019

ST. LOUIS – On April 29, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was granted summary judgment in a discrimination case filed by a former employee.

Postmaster General Megan Brennan’s motion was granted by Judge Charles A. Shaw.

“Plaintiff does not state a valid claim under the Rehabilitation Act for disparate treatment, failure to accommodate, or retaliation because defendant did not take any adverse actions against plaintiff and continuously provided plaintiff with reasonable accommodations,” said Shaw.

Plaintiff Leroy Gage filed the lawsuit pro se on Dec. 13, 2017, claiming he suffered discrimination from 2008 to the time he filed the lawsuit. He alleged his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were all violated during his time at USPS. 

The court tossed Gage’s claims related to Title VII, ADA and ADEA after the defendant filed a partial motion to dismiss in February 2018. The only one still in question was the claim under the Rehabilitation Act, which Brennan moved for summary judgment. Brennan argued the plaintiff's claims under the Act are barred by the doctrine of res judicata because his discrimination and retaliation claims were addressed and dismissed.

"In the alternative, defendant argues that plaintiff’s remaining claims fail on their merits because plaintiff is not a qualified individual, did not suffer an adverse employment action, and was not denied a reasonable accommodation," Shaw wrote.

Gage has “multiple conditions including diabetes; hypertension; arthritis; and back, knee and hip injuries,” the ruling states, and performed his duties in a competent and satisfactory manner. The ruling states a 2008 fitness for duty examination found he was capable of working light duty status with restrictions and his assignment was changed.

He alleged he was involuntarily transferred from city carrier technician to an unassigned full-time carrier technician. He alleged that while he never requested accommodations to assist with his conditions, he was not offered any either.

Shaw wrote that a valid claim was not presented by Gage under the Rehabilitation Act because "undisputed evidence" established that he could not medically perform the essential job functions of a mail carrier position under his physician's restrictions.

"...Plaintiff never formally requested a reasonable accommodation, and there was no additional work the USPS could have offered to plaintiff that would have conformed to his medical restrictions of no more than two hours sitting, 25 minutes of standing, and 30 minutes of walking," Shaw wrote.

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