100 USPS workers join in lawsuit

Share this content:

Four days after Seattle's Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro (HBSS) law firm accused the United States Postal Service of selling the personal information of one of its employees, more than 100 additional postal employees came forward claiming they also want restitution.

"It appears that USPS is sharing sensitive employee information to a wide range of marketers, hawking everything from cell phones to credit cards," said Steve Berman, lead attorney and managing partner of HBSS, in a statement to the press.

"Not only do we think this sort of activity is illegal, we think it sets a very bad example as the nation's second-largest employer," Berman continued.

Lance McDermott, a mail-processing equipment mechanic for the USPS, filed the original complaint on July 30 in the US Western District Court of Washington at Seattle. It alleged that the agency sold McDermott's private data and the data of other workers to credit card companies and others without consent.

"There are a large number of people who are similarly situated in this case," said Mark Firmani, a spokesman for the law firm. "Everyone who meets the class - who was affected by all of this - will be compensated, should we be successful in the lawsuit."

McDermott claims he received private marketing materials with a USPS logo from Visa, Motorola, and Sprint-Nextel. The marketing materials contained McDermott's personal information, which he claims USPS sold to these companies.

The Postal Service says in its Strategic Business Initiatives plan that co-branded offers and special agreements with corporations provide value to its employees. Employees can opt out of receiving such offers. However, USPS workers are not given the opportunity to sign consent forms authorizing these types of solicitations.

"Our client is outraged that an organization he has dedicated the last 10 years of his life would be so quick to sell his personal information for a quick buck," said Berman.

According to the complaint, USPS recognizes that it is subject to the protection requirements of the Privacy Act.

The Postal Service outlines the Privacy Act's specifications on its Web site and in its handbook. Among those is a mandate to protect the privacy of its customers, employees, individuals and suppliers, and a requirement not to disclose personal, private information from employee records without the employee's prior written consent.

The Privacy Act specifically forbids federal agencies from releasing employee data without permission.

It says: "No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains."

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

We recently were named B2B Magazine's Direct Marketing Agency of the Year, and with good reason: We make real, measureable, positive change happen for our clients. A full-service agency founded in 1974, Bader Rutter expertly helps you get the right message to the right audience at the right time through the right channels. As we engage our clients' audiences along their journey, direct marketing (email, direct mail, phone, SMS) and behavioral marketing (SEM, retargeting, contextual) channels deliver information relevant to the needs of each stage. We are experts at implementing and leveraging marketing technologies such as CRM and marketing automation in order to synchronize sales and marketing communications. Our team of architects and activators plan, execute, measure and adjust in real time to ensure the strategy is working as needed and change things if it's not.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above