Getting canned, being handed a pink slip, getting the axe— these are just a few nice ways of saying “you’re fired.” USPS calls any action that results in an employee losing their job a separation.
If you’re a current USPS employee or thinking about applying for a job in the postal service, then you might be curious how USPS handles terminations. If so, keep reading this article to learn what I found out!
USPS Termination Policy In 2023
USPS deals with terminations differently depending on whether the employee in question is a career or non-career employee and whether or not the employee has completed the probationary period. Reasons for termination in 2023 include misconduct, inability to meet job requirements and expiration of appointment. Career employees get the most protections, while temporary employees have the least.
If you’d like to learn more about why USPS fires employees, if you can be fired by a USPS supervisor and more, keep reading this article for more useful facts, tips and information on this subject!
Why Does USPS Fire Employees?
There are several reasons why USPS may fire employees, but let’s take a closer look at some of the most common reasons.
For career employees, the two most common types of termination are as follows:
- Removal – Career employees who are fired for cause, such as misuse of company property or theft.
- Disqualification – Employees who are fired before completing their probationary period, including those who fail to meet job requirements or those found guilty of misconduct.
Disqualification can also occur if USPS learns of information that, if known at the time of appointment, would have disqualified the employee.
There are also two kinds of termination for non-career employees, and these are as follows:
- Termination, expiration of appointment – Describes employees who have reached the end of their term or whose services are no longer required.
- Separation – Discontinuance of the employee’s service because of unsatisfactory performance.
The final type of termination, ‘separation – disability,’ applies to career employees who have completed their probationary period.
These employees are terminated if their medical condition renders them unable to perform the duties of the position and if they are ineligible for disability retirement.
Can A USPS Supervisor Fire You?
As federal employees, USPS workers benefit from more job protection than those working in the private sector. Put another way, a USPS supervisor can’t simply fire employees.
Postal workers cannot have their jobs taken away from them without due process. This process differs depending on the employment type (i.e. temporary or career).
Temporary employees may be fired at any time following a written notice of termination.
Career employees have even more protections and will go through a series of steps before being fired.
Career employees must do the following:
- Be notified of the proposed termination and given an explanation as to why.
- Be given a fair opportunity to see and study any evidence against them related to the proposed termination.
- Be allowed a meaningful opportunity to respond to and refute the charges before any decision is made.
- Have an appropriate legal procedure to appeal a decision.
What Is USPS Employee Misconduct?
USPS considers misconduct as intentional or improper use of Postal Service resources. This includes the following:
- Misuse of position or authority
- Misuse of resources such as tools, vehicles, or office equipment
- Destruction or theft of postal service property
- Falsification of official documents
- Theft of funds
- Narcotics use or sale of drugs while on duty
- Alcohol abuse on company property
Will USPS Rehire You After Getting Fired?
There doesn’t seem to be a straightforward answer to this question. Rather, it seems like in theory USPS will not rehire ex-employees who were fired, but in practice the issue is more nuanced.
To clarify, if you were fired for gross misconduct like stealing or destroying property, your chances of getting rehired are probably nil.
However, if you were fired for tardiness or poor attendance, there’s a chance USPS will rehire you.
One main reason USPS may overlook an earlier termination is because the postal service is chronically understaffed. Basically, they need bodies and can’t afford to turn too many applicants away.
Can USPS Employees Apply For Unemployment?
Unemployed former USPS employees receive benefits through the Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees Program (UCFE).
Although postal workers are federal employees, their unemployment benefits come from their state of residence.
In other words, UCFE is a state-run program. As such, unemployed post office workers should contact their state unemployment insurance agency to file a claim.
It stands to reason that your eligibility for unemployment compensation depends on your state’s employment security law.
Still, every state requires that an applicant does the following:
- Be unemployed or employed less than full–time as defined by the state employment security law and have earnings less than an amount specified in the state law.
- Register for work and file an unemployment compensation claim at a local state employment security office.
- Have worked a specified amount of time or have earned a specified amount of wages (or both) within a certain period.
- Have the ability to work.
- Be regularly available for work.
- Be actively seeking work.
- Report periodically to the local state employment security office.
On the other side of the coin, disqualification provisions vary from state to state. In most states, employment security laws lay out a period of total disqualification or a period of temporary disqualification for certain types of separations.
Former USPS employees are not disqualified from unemployment benefits if the separation was an involuntary termination of employment (other than misconduct) or if the separation was a voluntary termination or resignation based on good cause.
However, postal service employees will be disqualified for the following reasons:
- They were discharged for misconduct.
- They voluntarily quit without good cause.
- They refused a suitable job without good cause.
Compared to most private-sector jobs, USPS’ termination policy is fairly generous. That’s especially true for career employees who have completed the probationary period. These employees benefit from due process rights and have a chance to defend their jobs.
Non-career employees enjoy fewer protections, but they must still be alerted in writing ahead of time before losing their job. What’s more, both types of employees are eligible for unemployment benefits and rehire in most cases.