Disabled USPS Employee Sues Over Denial of Working Lunch Break

March 27, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Kenneth Fox wanted to be able to work through his lunch breaks as a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee.

Suffering from a “severe and painful” degenerative arthritic condition which the 55-year-old Fox said he developed after a “very long and physically arduous career” as a member of a U.S. military special operations unit, being able to keep moving helped him better cope with the discomfort from the condition, Fox said in a federal court lawsuit.

“Fox’s condition is such that the pain, discomfort and muscular problems in general that he experiences are tolerable during his work hours if he is able to stay mobile or essentially continue working throughout his shift,” the suit charged. “However, when Fox is static or unable to continue moving, his muscles begin to freeze up and his arthritic condition becomes extremely painful.”

By refusing to allow the working lunch break, Fox charged in the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the USPS violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as state anti-discrimination laws. He also claimed that he was retaliated against when he asked for accommodations under those laws.

According to the lawsuit,Fox began working for the USPS as an automation clerk in the Tampa Airport plan facility in May 1997. Fox claimed his supervisors had obliged him in the past about the working lunch break, but that the agent at the Tampa plant refused his request and said a lunch break was mandatory, making no efforts to accommodate him. The suit claimed that other postal facilities allow employees to choose whether to utilize the offered lunch break.

The suit is Kenneth M. Fox vs. John E. Potter, Postmaster General, U.S. Postal Service, 8:07-cv-00484-RAL-EAJ.

More information about the ADA is here .