Page images

154 Ct. Cl. Findings of Fact both shorthand and typing are required. Duties will consist of replacement for absences of the two regular stenographers assigned to the post office and inspection

service, and other stenographic duties as needed. Apparently none of the regular postal employees at Duluth was interested in this position, and plaintiff was accepted for the position effective September 27, 1952, after resignation from the St. Paul post office on September 26, 1952.

4. Plaintiff received an appointment as an indefinite substitute clerk in lieu of reinstatement, the same as she held previously in St. Paul, because of the restrictions of the Whitten Amendment. This appointment was not considered as a classified or career status appointment by the Post Office Department. Plaintiff remained as an indefinite substitute clerk throughout the entire period pertinent to this suit. The notice of personnel action in this matter contained the following remarks:

Resigned St. Paul Post Office CE9/26/52. Above appointment without a break in service for “Stenographic Duties" at this Post Office.

Retirement status originally restored 12/1/51 due to prior classified service at St. Paul Post Office 4/1/42 to 7/15/49. Appointment made in grade 7, employee in this grade at time of separation 9/26/52, agreeable to

applicant. Plaintiff's service and pay record carried the notation “Steno duties only."

5. From September 27, 1952, through January 23, 1953, plaintiff was assigned typing duties in the Duluth post office. During this period of 119 days the plaintiff worked 504 hours.

In January 1953, the post office caught up with its typing work, and on January 20, 1953, plaintiff received written notice from the assistant postmaster that there would be no further work for her for the period from January 26, 1953, through February 28, 1953, unless there was extended sick or annual leave of one of the stenographers. On February 1, 1953, plaintiff was placed in an "available status” by the Duluth post office. At this time plaintiff would have accepted either full time or part time work. She conveyed this

[ocr errors]


Findings of Fact

desire to postal officials at Duluth periodically thereafter until she was reemployed.

6. After January 23, 1953, plaintiff was not called to work until the Christmas season, when she worked from December 6, 1953, to December 23, 1953. At that time plaintiff was used at a money order window as the regular money order clerk was hospitalized at that time, or had been temporarily transferred to mail distribution for the Christmas rush. No experience was required for the work at the money order window.

7. Subsequent to January 24, 1953, plaintiff's periodic requests for employment were turned down by the Duluth postmaster and his assistant, who advised plaintiff that no typing or stenography work was available. Defendant concedes that in December 1953, and again in February 1954, plaintiff requested any type of employment, including other than stenographic work. She was told on these occasions that she had been hired for stenographic work entirely and that the post office would not employ her for other duties.

8. After plaintiff's request for any type of work had been denied, plaintiff protested to officials of the Post Office Department, the Department of Labor Bureau of Veterans Reemployment Rights, the Ninth Civil Service Region, and the National Federation of Post Office Clerks. On March 3, 1954, plaintiff wrote the Assistant Postmaster General, Bureau of Personnel, requesting clarification of her status. On March 31, 1954, the Assistant Postmaster General, Bureau of Personnel, wrote the following letter to the Duluth postmaster:

Upon re-appointment in your office as indefinite subclerk in lieu of re-instatement, effective Sept. 27, 1952, Mrs. Zaverl began a new period of seniority. Please advise if you are in position to arrange for more hours of employment for Mrs. Zaverl consistent with her seniority

on work she is capable of performing. On April 7, 1954, the postmaster responded :

Reference is made to your letter of March 31, initialed SP3-DS.

At present we do not have any stenographic duties for Mrs. Zaverl, and unless something unforeseen at this writing should take place, we do not see any such duties available for some time.

[blocks in formation]

154 Ct. Cl.

Findings of Fact

On April 15, 1954, the Assistant Postmaster General wrote the postmaster as follows:

This will acknowledge your letter of April 7, 1954, concerning the assignment of indefinite-sub-Clerk Shirley Zaverl.

You are not required to confine Mrs. Zaverl's duties to stenographic work. She is entitled to be employed on any work which is available and which she is capable of performing, consistent with her seniority.

Your further comments will be appreciated. On April 23, 1954, the postmaster wrote plaintiff as follows:

You are scheduled for the Outgoing Mails Section from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. next week Monday through Friday, April 26 to 30th. On Saturday, May 1st, you are scheduled from 11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. in the same section.

Please contact Mr. Burud, Assistant Superintendent of Mails, Incoming Section for your first scheme assignment.

Additional duties in the Division of Mails will be assigned to you as you gain experience. Your future assignments will be attached to your card in the clock room each week and, in addition, you are of course subject to verbal additions and deletions as the mail

fluctuates. On April 26, 1954, the postmaster advised the Assistant Postmaster General as follows:

Reference is made to your letter of April 15, initialed SP3:DS:RR.

Indefinite sub-clerk Shirley Zaverl has been assigned to duties in the Division of Mails effective today. 9. After a series of correspondence with the branch office of the Ninth Civil Service Region, and after an investigation of plaintiff's appeal by the Civil Service Commission, plaintiff received, on August 4, 1954, the following decision on her appeal:

According to your statement, when you were placed in a "lay-off status" there were thirteen postal clerks with less seniority than you who worked during the periods of time in question. You also stated that you were not recalled to duty because the local postal clerks union had lodged a protest against your employment.


Findings of Fact A substitute clerk is not guaranteed any specific amount of work but is subject to call by the postmaster or other postal official acting on his behalf. The Post Office Department has established a seniority system for substitute clerks. The Civil Service Commission does not control assignments of substitute clerks nor does the Commission control the seniority system. The system is regulated and controlled by the Post Office Department. If the Post Office Department violates its own regulations or policies, the employee concerned has a grievance against his Department rather than an appeal to the Civil Service Commission.

After a careful consideration of all the evidence in your case, we find that the failure of the Post Office Department to recall you to duty during the periods of time in question did not amount to a suspension or furlough without pay within the meaning of Section 14 of the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944, as amended. Therefore, the procedural requirements of Section 14 of the above named Act do not apply. Since your appeal does not come within the purview of Section 14, the Commission would not have authority to conduct a hearing in your case. Any appeal rights that you might have are with the Post Office Department.

No further appeal from this decision will be entertained from either you or the Post Office Department unless it is submitted to the Commissioners, U.S. Civil Service Commission, Washington 25, D.C., within seven (7) days after receipt of this decision. Notification of a further appeal should be given to this office so the case files can be transmitted promptly to the Commissioners. Additional representations should be made in writing and submitted in duplicate with the appeal to the

Commissioners. Plaintiff thereafter made no further appeal to the Civil Service Commission but on April 19, 1956, plaintiff made a claim for back pay for the periods covered in the instant suit, directly to the Post Office Department. This claim was denied by postal authorities on October 9, 1956. Plaintiff filed her petition in this court on January 14, 1957.

10. During the periods from January 24, 1953, to December 6, 1953, and December 24, 1953, to April 26, 1954, 13 non-classified substitute clerks with indefinite or temporary appointments, and with less length of service than plaintiff were called on occasion by postal authorities at Duluth for 154 Ct. Cl. Findings of Fact work, whereas plaintiff was not called to work at any time during this period.

11. All substitute clerks junior to plaintiff in the Duluth post office were men. There were no separate male and female rosters for substitute clerks during the period pertinent to this suit, and plaintiff was the only woman substitute clerk in the Duluth post office during this period.

A portion of the work performed by all of these male substitute clerks entailed physical labor and heavy work, such as handling mail bags, loading and unloading trucks, handling and distributing parcels, and occasionally working as carriers, work for which a woman normally would not be qualified. That portion of the work which plaintiff could not reasonably perform was not ascertainable from the evidence.

12. Upon recall to duty on April 26, 1954, plaintiff was assigned duties other than those entailing physical labor normally only performed by the male substitute clerks.

13. The Post Office Department regulations pertinent to this issue, as shown in chapter II of the 1952 edition of the Post Office manual are as follows:

Appointments to Fill Regular Vacancies

13. A vacancy in the regular force shall be filled by the promotion of the senior classified substitute of the same designation or by reinstatement or by transfer.

14. Relative standing on the substitute roll.–Substitutes are placed on the roll in the order of the dates of their appointments from a competitive register. Separate substitute rolls are maintained for males and females. Appointment of Temporary Employees

17. Postmasters are expected to organize their post offices with a view to having the prescribed quota of classified substitutes perform the necessary substitute service. Temporary substitutes must not be used for any reason if classified substitutes are available. However, for vacation and holiday periods and other emergencies, temporary substitutes may be appointed.

Provision of Law

66. No person in the classified civil service of the United States shall be removed therefrom except for

« PreviousContinue »