Understanding the USPS Termination Landscape in 2023

Last Updated on 01/09/2023 by UPS_ Admin

In 2023, the USPS employment and termination policies are evolving. This guide delves into the updated approach towards employees’ rights and job security, offering insights into criteria for termination and the distinction between career and non-career employee rights. A must-read for USPS employees and those interested in federal employment.

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USPS Termination Policy In 2023

USPS (United States Postal Service) deals with terminations differently depending on whether the employee in question is a career or non-career employee and whether or not the employee has completed the probationary period. Reasons for termination in 2023 include misconduct, inability to meet job requirements, and expiration of appointment. Career employees get the most protections, while temporary employees have the least.

After being notified, the employee is separated from Postal Service rolls administratively. This is not an adverse or disciplinary action and does not bar future federal employment. The employee may apply for reinstatement under Handbook EL-312, section 233.33, if eligible. (See Handbook EL-312, section 771.1.)

USPS does not terminate people lightly. There are different stages of discipline. You get a job discussion and discipline moves up from there. It is not easy to get fired. Get a supervisor mad at you, and he will pursue the steps to take to get someone terminated. If you like to fight, pick on the vets. A vet almost never gets fired and what he gets, the other party gets. You conceivably could pull a knife on someone and not get fired and that’s a fact.

Why Does USPS Fire Employees?

USPS, or the United States Postal Service, is one of the most essential federal entities that ensures mail and package delivery across the nation. But like any organization, USPS has had its challenges when it comes to employee relations.

  1. Job Security Concerns: The notion of a “secure job” with the postal service is shifting. Employees have voiced concerns about the stability of their positions. Downsizing, on-the-job injuries, temporary assignments, or even failure to pass a test for a new position can potentially lead to an employee’s termination.
  2. Attendance Requirements: The Postal Service requires its employees to maintain regular attendance. Failing to do so might result in disciplinary actions, up to and including removal from the Postal Service.
  3. Employee Misconduct: As with many organizations, misconduct, especially if repeated or severe, can lead to termination. This includes any behavior that goes against the policies and regulations of the USPS.
  4. Productivity and Quality of Work: Employees are expected to maintain a certain level of productivity and quality in their work. If these standards are not met, it might result in termination.
  5. Types of Termination for Career Employees:
    • Removal: This pertains to employees who are terminated for cause, such as misuse of company property.
    • Disqualification: Employees who are let go before completing their probationary period due to reasons like failure to meet job requirements or misconduct.

For non-career employees, termination can arise from:

  • Termination, Expiration of Appointment: When an employee reaches the end of their term.
  • Separation: When an employee’s services are discontinued due to unsatisfactory performance.

Can A USPS Supervisor Fire You?

If you’re a USPS employee, you might be wondering about the extent of a supervisor’s power when it comes to job termination. The good news is that due to the federal nature of USPS employment, employees are granted more protection than their private-sector counterparts.

A USPS supervisor alone doesn’t possess the absolute authority to fire an employee on a whim. Instead, they can make recommendations concerning a particular employee’s job performance or behavior that might warrant a separation or disqualification. These recommendations then go through a formalized review process, overseen by an official with the authority to make employment decisions.

What Is USPS Employee Misconduct?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) holds its employees to high standards of conduct to ensure the efficient operation of its services and maintain the public’s trust. Misconduct within the USPS refers to behaviors that deviate from these standards and can potentially harm the organization’s reputation, security, or operations.

Here are some specific instances and types of misconduct as defined by the USPS:

  1. Conduct Prejudicial to the Postal Service: Employees are prohibited from engaging in criminal, dishonest, disgraceful, immoral, or any other conduct that can be prejudicial to the Postal Service.
  2. Mail Integrity Violations: This encompasses theft, delay, or intentional destruction of mail by employees and contractors.
  3. Fraudulent Activities: This includes workers’ compensation fraud, other healthcare fraud, embezzlements, financial crimes, and contract fraud.
  4. Computer Crimes: This involves unauthorized use of the Postal Service’s digital resources. Examples include using unapproved applications, accessing the Postal Service’s websites using unofficial email accounts, or any other unauthorized means.
  5. Ineligibility Factors for Applicants: An applicant deemed ineligible due to factors like age, Selective Service System registration, driving record, qualifying test results, driver’s license review, drug screening results, or English competence will be notified in writing about their ineligibility.
  6. Misuse of Position or Authority: Any abuse or unauthorized exercise of one’s position to the detriment of the Postal Service or for personal gain.
  7. Misuse of Resources: This includes improper use of tools, vehicles, office equipment, or any other resources provided by the USPS for official purposes.
  8. Destruction or Theft: Deliberate damage or theft of postal service property, be it physical assets, money, or information.
  9. Falsification: Tampering or falsifying official documents, records, or communication.
  10. Substance Abuse: Use, possession, or sale of narcotics while on duty or alcohol abuse on company property is strictly prohibited.

USPS aims to ensure that its vast workforce adheres to its code of conduct to maintain efficiency, safety, and trustworthiness. Employees found guilty of misconduct may face disciplinary actions, including, but not limited to, suspension, demotion, or termination, based on the severity of the misconduct. If you’re associated with USPS or looking to be, it’s crucial to be aware of these standards and ensure strict adherence.

Will USPS Rehire You After Getting Fired?

The possibility of getting rehired after being terminated from the United States Postal Service (USPS) largely depends on the circumstances and reasons for the initial termination. While the USPS has a standardized policy for recruitment and rehiring, there are multiple aspects that determine an individual’s eligibility.

  1. Reason for Termination: Your chances of being rehired by USPS are influenced by the reason you were fired.
    • Gross Misconduct: If you were terminated due to severe issues like theft or destruction of property, it’s highly unlikely that USPS would consider rehiring you.
    • Less Severe Reasons: On the other hand, if the reason for termination was tardiness, attendance issues, or other less severe issues, there’s a possibility of being reconsidered.
  2. Reinstatement Considerations: The USPS follows a detailed reinstatement request review process. Management must take into account:
    • The former employee’s USPS work history.
    • The nature of the charges leading to the removal or resignation.
    • The eligibility factors as detailed in the Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement.
  3. Public Statements on Rehiring: There have been instances where people have made claims such as “If you were terminated you cannot be rehired” (as cited from July 11, 2014, and June 9, 2017). However, such statements can be situational and may not represent the USPS’s official stance.
  4. Union Involvement: If the terminated employee was part of a union, the union might have rights or mechanisms to facilitate their return, depending on the reasons for termination and the union’s agreement with USPS.

It’s also worth noting that the culture and policies of postal services might vary across countries. For instance, the popularity and recruitment dynamics of postal service jobs in Japan might be different from those in the U.S.

Can USPS Employees Apply For Unemployment?

Yes, USPS employees can apply for unemployment, but there are specific criteria and considerations to understand:

  1. USPS Obligations: The U.S. Postal Service is mandated to pay unemployment benefits only if it has enough funds to cover its employment obligations, as specified under 39 U.S.C. ยง 1001. If the USPS meets these requirements, only then are they obligated to pay benefits to qualifying employees.
  2. State-Based Benefits: Even though USPS workers are federal employees, their unemployment benefits come from the state they reside in. As such, they need to apply for benefits with their state’s unemployment insurance agency.
  3. State-Specific Requirements: Eligibility for unemployment benefits hinges on an individual state’s employment security laws. However, universally, states demand that an applicant:
    • Be unemployed or working part-time and earn less than a set amount.
    • Register and file a claim at their local state employment office.
    • Have previously worked a specific duration or earned a certain amount.
    • Be capable, available, and actively seeking employment.
    • Report to their local employment office at set intervals.

On the other hand, former USPS workers are usually not barred from receiving benefits if they were involuntarily terminated (barring misconduct) or if they resigned for justifiable reasons.


The USPS employment and termination procedures in 2023 are comprehensive, catering to the different statuses of employees, such as career and non-career. Reasons for termination range from misconduct to productivity issues. While supervisors can’t terminate unilaterally, they can recommend. Misconduct encompasses varied transgressions, from mail theft to substance abuse. Termination doesn’t necessarily mean the end; reinstatement is possible based on circumstances. USPS employees, subjected to certain conditions, are eligible for unemployment benefits. Understanding these intricacies is vital for both existing and aspiring USPS workers.

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