Adverse Action Legal Defense Plan
The United Postmasters and Managers of America (UPMA) is committed to representing the membership in all areas, including adverse actions. The Adverse Action Legal Defense Fund (AALDF) and the Adverse Action Legal Defense Plan (AALDP) was established for the membership to provide representation to active UPMA members in appealing adverse actions taken against them. Postmasters and Managers receiving notice of an adverse action (defined in ELM Section 651.71) should immediately contact a UPMA National Adverse Action Member Representative (see a list at Unitedpma.org). The Postmaster or Manager will sign a “Designation-of-Representation-form” and transmit it to the UPMA National Member Representative. The Member Representative will assist the Member in making a verbal reply to the charges, pursuant to ELM 651.74, and will begin coordination of the defense with the UPMA Legal Defense attorney. Generally, the UPMA legal defense attorney does not become actively involved until a decision letter is issued pursuant to ELM 651.75. In addition to adverse actions defined in ELM Section 651.71, the AALDF may also be used to represent eligible members in appeals of adverse actions under ELM Section 652.2 (EAS without MSPB rights).
When the decision of the Postal Service in adverse action falls within the jurisdiction of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the Member Representative will immediately contact the UPMA Legal Defense Attorney. The sole decision on the scope, extent and means of defense then becomes the responsibility of the attorney, with the agreement of the charged Member. The UPMA Legal Defense Attorney will not represent a Member in an MSPB appeal of an adverse action if the Member has been convicted of or has entered any plea other than not guilty to a criminal charge other than a misdemeanor which criminal charge is included in or directly related to the adverse action. Further, UPMA Legal Defense Attorney will not represent a Member in an MSPB appeal of an adverse action if the Member has formally admitted to a law enforcement officer (for example OIG agent, Postal Inspector, Police Officer, or the like) that he or she committed a criminal violation other than a misdemeanor which criminal violation is included in or directly related to the adverse action. The Member Representative will remain available to provide technical assistance to the defense as requested by any attorney, privately retained by the Member.
With respect to appeals under ELM 652.2, it is expressly understood and agreed that UPMA does not authorize the Attorney to provide any legal services for said appeals beyond the issuance of the final decision of the Step 1 Official Action (per the March 16, 2016 version of the ELM and any subsequent versions of the ELM).
To be represented by the UPMA Legal Defense Plan Attorney, the Member first must sign the “Designation-of-Representation and Subscription-to-Appeal-form” and transmit it to the UPMA Legal Defense Attorney.
Neither the UPMA Legal Defense Attorney nor the AALDP will defend a Member charged with a criminal violation in state or federal courts. These situations require a Member so charged to obtain the assistance of his or her own criminal defense attorney to defend against criminal charges.
To be eligible for AALDF benefits, you must be an active EAS member of UPMA for at least one year prior to the date of an initial proposed adverse action. Membership effective date is determined by date Form 1187 is processed at UPMA National Office.
AALDF or AALDP benefits may be used to appeal adverse actions (defined in ELM 651.71 and 652.2) as follows:
Removal and suspension of more than 14 days, furloughs without pay, and reductions in grade or pay.
Except for Emergency Placement, a Member desiring representation of the Legal Defense Attorney must submit a cashier’s check (or wire transfer) within ten days of a Decision Letter to the UPMA National Office in the amount described in the AALDP. Failure to adhere to this stipulation will disqualify the Member from the Plan. UPMA expenses for attorney representation in the AALDP will be paid from the designated AALDF. In the event that the case is settled with the Post Office prior to an official decision, any amount remaining from the required deposit will be returned to the Member.
For any decision regarding either the AALDF or Legal Defense attorney representation that may fall outside the scope of these procedures and guidelines, or for further interpretation of these guidelines, a review will be conducted by the UPMA Board who will determine the appropriate UPMA action. 80% approval of the UPMA Board is required before AALDF’s may be used.
In the event that the AALD Attorney advises the UPMA Board that a case is not justifiable to pursue, the UPMA Board (with 80% approval) reserves the right to cease the use of AALDF’s
Adverse Action Legal Defense Plan (AALDP)
Adverse Action Authorization Form
Designation of Representation and Subscription to Appeal
Legal Defense Comparison
Due Process in the US Postal Service by Hartley D. Alley
Sykes Law, LLC
UPMA Legal Defense Attorney
1700 Northside Drive, Suite A7-532
Atlanta, GA 30318