Fighting Workplace Harassment

The American Postal Workers Union believes strongly in the basic premise that all of our members have the inherent right to come to work every day without fear of encountering intimidation, humiliation, actions intended to embarrass and/or belittle, bullying, harassment or other inappropriate behavior(s). There have been growing reports across the country that the Postal Service policies which are in place to prevent such behaviors are being ignored and our Sisters and Brothers are having to endure some or all of these repugnant acts.

The American Postal Workers Union takes this very seriously and are working everyday to fight back. Herein you will find information, resources, and the tools necessary to fight back and ensure you can come to work everyday and be treated with absolute dignity. We have to stand up together and utilize the grievance procedure to force management to follow the rules which were put in place to avoid these types of environments.

Please take a moment to look around at the many tools available to the members, stewards and officers of the American Postal Workers Union. Included in these pages are the handbook and manual citations which are designed to prevent and stop hostile work environments, sample grievance content and information requests stewards and officers may utilize to prepare and present grievances, and additional resources our members may wish to utilize to ensure a workplace free of hostility and harassment.

Return to this page as we update it with resources to combat harassment over the coming months.

Improving Your Workplace Environment Brochure

Every worker has the right to a work environment free of harassment, hostility, and discrimination. Over many decades, postal management has failed to adequately address hostile work environments. It too often allows, enables, and covers up for abusive managers. This educational brochure, produced by the APWU Industrial Relations Department, is offered to help arm you with your contractual and other rights in the continuing struggle to create a welcoming and safe work environment.


  • Tell the harasser to stop!
  • Report it (if harasser is your supervisor go to the next level of management).
  • Contact your Union Representative.

The workplace should not be a place where people are subject to offensive comments, actions, or behavior. As a Postal Service Employee, you need to understand that you are protected. Reprisals for reporting harassment are illegal!

Resources to fight harassment

There are many citations at your disposal when it comes to fighting back against a hostile work environment caused by a supervisor, manager, or postmaster. Article 19 enables us to require that management abide by and enforce its own policies. Below are some useful citations members, stewards, and officers can utilize when filing a grievance on a hostile work environment.

Download the APWU flyer: Harassment doesn't have to be illegal to be wrong.

The USPS Employee and Labor Relations Manual has multiple sections that can and should be utilized in grievances for harassment or abusive supervisors.  Special attention should be paid to sections 664 through 673 of ELM Chapter 6.  Also, the chapter on safety—ELM Chapter 8 sections 810, 820, and 860 address the steps again management must take when dealing with PS-Form 1767.

Pub 552 Publication 552 speaks over and over again about management responsibilities and the ramifications for those who are creating a hostile work environment. APWU members, officers, and stewards should utilize passages from this handbook to demonstrate what management’s responsibilities are and aim to achieve the prescribed remedies contained therein.

Pub 553 Publication 553 speaks to what employees can and should do if harassed in the workplace.  It explains the definition of legal harassment but clarifies that harassment that doesn’t meet the legal definition of harassment is not tolerated in the workplace.  This publication clearly states there can be no reprisal for reporting harassment.

EL-801 The EL-801 clearly states what responsibilities supervisors have in regards to safety. It states that employees have the right to report unsafe and unhealthy working conditions on a PS-Form 1767. Harassment and hostile work environments are unhealthy and should be reported on a PS-form 1767. This EL-801 then outlines what a supervisor must do when a 1767 is completed by an employee.

EL-809 The EL-809 gives guidelines for Area/Local Joint Labor-Management Safety and Health Committees. It addresses the review of PS-Form 1767’s in committee meetings. If harassment and/or hostile work environment is reported on a 1767 the issue is appropriate for discussion in the committee meeting.

Pub-108 This publication is a management guide on what must be done with threats are reported.  A harasser or abusive supervisor can be a threat and should be reported. This publication states that preventing and reducing workplace violence falls under Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

USPS Policy on Workplace Harassment This letter signed by the Postmaster General, lays out the USPS policy in very clear terms. It states what the law requires of the USPS, what management’s responsibilities are, and what the employee rights are.

Retaliation for speaking up is not OK: whistleblower rights

If you do need to speak up, know your rights as an employee


Episode 2: Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Learn how to protect your rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Retaliation for speaking up is not ok. Visit for more information about your rights.

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