Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro: Post Office Employees Cry Foul over Alleged Privacy Violations

USPS accused of distributing employee information and violating Privacy

Act.



Jul 30, 2007, 01:00 ET from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro

    SEATTLE, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
 filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the United States Postal
 Service (USPS) on behalf of all employees, claiming the Federal government
 agency has violated terms of the Privacy Act and distributed contact
 information of its employees to marketing partners.
     According to the filed complaint USPS has allowed private businesses,
 as part of its Strategic Business Initiatives plan, to access and utilize
 its 'employee master file' that contains private information including home
 addresses of all career and non-career, full and part-time employees.
     The complaint states the business initiatives plan allows private
 corporations to submit bids for co-branding agreements. Under these
 agreements the USPS logo is branded on various marketing materials and sent
 to the private residences of USPS employees.
     "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. "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."
     Specifically Berman cites potential violations of the U.S. Privacy Act,
 which spells out very strict protections prohibiting employers from sharing
 employee information within federal agencies.
     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 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 -- yet it is still happening.
     The plaintiff alleges he has been subject to numerous mailings of these
 sorts for approximately the past two years and says he was never made aware
 of the 'opt-in' 'opt-out' programs which USPS claims are available.
     "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. "We expect a huge outpouring from postal
 employees throughout the U.S. who have experienced the same thing."
     The USPS is a Federal government agency that delivers mail daily to
 more than 300 million people at 146 million homes, businesses, and post
 office boxes throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American
 Virgin Islands and American Samoa. USPS has an annual operating budget of
 $73 billion which is generated through sale of postage and money from other
 business ventures.
     This class action suit seeks to recover the amounts which USPS unjustly
 received through the co-branding agreements and for the use of employees'
 private information to be stopped.
     About Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
     The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is based in Seattle with
 offices in Chicago, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco.
 Since the firm's founding in 1993, it has developed a nationally recognized
 practice in class-action and complex litigation. Among recent successes,
 HBSS has negotiated a pending $300 million settlement as lead counsel in
 the DRAM memory antitrust litigation; a $340 million recovery on behalf of
 Enron employees which is awaiting distribution; a $150 million settlement
 involving charges of illegally inflated charges for the drug Lupron, and
 served as co-counsel on the Visa/Mastercard litigation which resulted in a
 $3 billion settlement, the largest anti-trust settlement to date. HBSS also
 served as counsel in a $850 million settlement in the Washington Public
 Power Supply litigation and represented Washington and 12 other states in
 lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in the largest
 settlement in the history of litigation. For a complete listing of HBSS
 cases, visit www.hbsslaw.com.
 
 

SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
    SEATTLE, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
 filed a proposed class action lawsuit against the United States Postal
 Service (USPS) on behalf of all employees, claiming the Federal government
 agency has violated terms of the Privacy Act and distributed contact
 information of its employees to marketing partners.
     According to the filed complaint USPS has allowed private businesses,
 as part of its Strategic Business Initiatives plan, to access and utilize
 its 'employee master file' that contains private information including home
 addresses of all career and non-career, full and part-time employees.
     The complaint states the business initiatives plan allows private
 corporations to submit bids for co-branding agreements. Under these
 agreements the USPS logo is branded on various marketing materials and sent
 to the private residences of USPS employees.
     "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. "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."
     Specifically Berman cites potential violations of the U.S. Privacy Act,
 which spells out very strict protections prohibiting employers from sharing
 employee information within federal agencies.
     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 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 -- yet it is still happening.
     The plaintiff alleges he has been subject to numerous mailings of these
 sorts for approximately the past two years and says he was never made aware
 of the 'opt-in' 'opt-out' programs which USPS claims are available.
     "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. "We expect a huge outpouring from postal
 employees throughout the U.S. who have experienced the same thing."
     The USPS is a Federal government agency that delivers mail daily to
 more than 300 million people at 146 million homes, businesses, and post
 office boxes throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American
 Virgin Islands and American Samoa. USPS has an annual operating budget of
 $73 billion which is generated through sale of postage and money from other
 business ventures.
     This class action suit seeks to recover the amounts which USPS unjustly
 received through the co-branding agreements and for the use of employees'
 private information to be stopped.
     About Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro
     The law firm of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro is based in Seattle with
 offices in Chicago, Cambridge, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Francisco.
 Since the firm's founding in 1993, it has developed a nationally recognized
 practice in class-action and complex litigation. Among recent successes,
 HBSS has negotiated a pending $300 million settlement as lead counsel in
 the DRAM memory antitrust litigation; a $340 million recovery on behalf of
 Enron employees which is awaiting distribution; a $150 million settlement
 involving charges of illegally inflated charges for the drug Lupron, and
 served as co-counsel on the Visa/Mastercard litigation which resulted in a
 $3 billion settlement, the largest anti-trust settlement to date. HBSS also
 served as counsel in a $850 million settlement in the Washington Public
 Power Supply litigation and represented Washington and 12 other states in
 lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in the largest
 settlement in the history of litigation. For a complete listing of HBSS
 cases, visit www.hbsslaw.com.
 
 SOURCE Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro