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Don't Let This Happen To You

Source: Bobbi Green, Vice-President
Branch 3126, Royal Oak, Michigan

A few months ago a carrier was out on the route delivering mail when a dog came out of nowhere and jumped on him. The carrier was knocked to the ground. The mail went everywhere. The dog's owner was nowhere to be found. The dog would not let the carrier get close enough to pick up the mail. The carrier called his supervisor who came out to the scene. The police were called to help with the dog. The dog's owner was located and took the dog inside.

The supervisor had two TEs come out and take the rest of the route. the carrier and the supervisor went back to the post office. The supervisor asked the carrier if he wanted to go to the clinic. The carrier said no. He was in pain but thought he would feel fine by the next day and if not, he could go to the clinic then.

By the next day, the pain had not subsided; so the carrier decided to go to his own physician. The carrier filled out a CA-1 for traumatic injury and asked for a CA-17 in case the doctor gave him restrictions, a CA-20 (physician's report) and a CA-16 (authorization of payment for medical treatment) to take to his doctor.

The carrier followed all the steps to properly report and process an on-the-job-injury. The carrier went to the doctor and was allowed to return to work with restrictions for a few weeks. The carrier continued to work for two months, even though he was often in pain. When the pain became worse, the carrier called in sick, hoping being off work would let the swelling go down and stop the pain.

Unfortunately, he had to go to the emergency room because the pain became unbearable. The carrier called the union for assistance. We could not locate a copy of the paper work the carrier had filled out two months earlier. The physician's office received payment, but they lost the contents of the carrier's file. The carrier did not keep copies of the paper work he filled out the day after he was attacked by the dog.

We put in an official request for all information pertaining to the injury date of that carrier to the supervisor. The supervisor said the carrier never filed a claim so no paper workwas filled out. We knew that was not true. We then put in a request for information to the injury compensation department requesting a copy of any and all information pertaining to the carrier's on-the-job-injury. The injury compensation department said they had no inforamtion on file for any injury in 2008 for this carrier.

I therefore, asked for a new CA-1 to be given to the carrier. The supervisor refused to provide it because he claimed he had located the original CA-1. I requested a copy of it and the receipt that should have originally been provided the carrier at the time of the injury.

I knew the supervisor had not found the original CA-1 or he would have showed it to me. I downloaded a new Ca-1 online and had the carrier fill it out. He went back to his physician. I attempted to sumit the CA-1 to his supervisor for him so the supervisor could forward it to the injury compensation office. I also wanted a receipt for the CA-1. The supervisor refused to accept the CA-1.

I warned the supervisor he was violating the FECA laws and that his refusal to accept the CA-1 would force me to initiate several grievances. This did not even faze the supervisor.

I faxed a copy of the new CA-1 to the postmaster and asked him to contact me and supply us with a receipt for the CA-1. I wrote a letter notifying the postmaster of the supervisor's actions. I forwarded the CA-1 to the injury compensation department. I called the Office of Worker's Compensation Department (OWCP) and spoke to the senior claims examiner who asked me to forward the information to her.

The next day, the carrier received a letter from the Post Office stating the carrier's original CA-1 had been timely forwarded to OWCP. They enclosed a copy which we reviewed. It was, indeed, the originalCA-1 filled out by the employee, with one exception. The carrier's name was signed on the form but not by him. The date on the form was only ten days prior. It should have been months ago.

We immediately called injury compensation to find out who signed the form. there was no answer, so I left a message. I tried numerous times to speak to someone. My calls were not returned. We notified OWCP.

The carrier's claim was approved. The carrier ended up having to have surgery. I spoke with one manager who showed me a statement written months after the attack by the dog's onwer. Apparently, management had to go to a meeting because the CA-1 forms had not been handled properly. Just before the meeting, the supervisor was sent to take pictures of the area where the carrier was attacked for the meeting.

Coincidentaly, when the manager was out taking photos, the owner offered up a statement saying the carrier was never knocked down. I found this quite amazing considering the police had to contain the dog and locate the owner because they were not there when the carrier was attacked. The manager argued that the police were never on site. Fortunately,we got a copy of the police report.

The supervisor warned me that the carrier was under investigation because he had been known to play sports. We are currently waiting to here from OWCP. This carrier was attacked and did everything he was supposed to do. Every grievance that could have been filed was filed. Unfortunately, this doesn't change the hardship the carrier suffered at the hands of management.

I worte this to demonstrate how quickly management can turn on any employee. This issue is not over. If one lesson is learned by this, it is that if you are injured on the job, please seek assistance and always make copies of everything.


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