Thursday, July 3, 2014

Arbitrator: Excessed Employees Must Meet Minimum Qualifications Before Reassignment

Arbitrator Rules: Excessed Employees Must Meet Minimum Qualifications Before Reassignment

"... At arbitration, the Postal Service conceded that where the qualification standards for a position include a driver’s license and a safe driving record, the Postal Service cannot excess a person who cannot drive into that position. But the Postal Service continued to argue that the physical qualifications stated in the Qualification Standards for Letter Carriers were not part of the minimum qualifications an excess worker must meet to be reassigned into a Letter Carrier position. In rejecting the Postal Service’s argument, the arbitrator relied on the language of Article 12 and on the parties’ Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM). The JCIM makes it clear that minimum qualifications are determined by official Qualification Standards.

The arbitrator also rejected a Postal Service argument that it might be forced to violate the Rehabilitation Act if it is contractually prevented from reassigning an employee into a Letter Carrier job because they have a physical disability. As the arbitrator observed, the parties have a Memorandum of Understanding that applies in the case of workers who already hold light- or limited-duty assignments.

The arbitrator also rejected testimony provided by the Postal Service that the USPS never had treated physical qualification as part of the minimum qualifications for a position, citing testimony and documentary evidence provided by the APWU showing that physical qualifications in Qualification Standards are among the minimum qualifications that must be met before someone is reassigned across craft lines. ...



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