Westchester Letter Carrier Out To Change Americans With Disabilities Act
SCARSDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Father’s Day came and went with a local dad still fighting to be with his disabled daughter. For years, his job accommodated his daughter’s needs, but all of sudden his hours were changed and now he’s going to court.
George Ulrich of Westchester County and his daughter, Victoria, are inseparable. She came into this world disabled — and he’s been her caretaker, while working as a letter carrier at this Scarsdale Post Office.
“Yes, for 17 years I’ve been working 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in order to be home at 2 p.m. for my daughter,” Ulrich said.
But Ulrich’s early morning hours were suddenly changed last February, forcing him to choose between sorting the mail by day or cutting his hours and income for the sake of his daughter.
“Oh it’s unfair, it’s unfair. I got medical bills, Con Ed bills, I’m losing pay right now,” Ulrich said.
He chose the pay cut, $200 less a week, and filed a federal complaint of disability discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
“Everybody knew about my daughter, and nobody ever had a problem with me working 5 to 1:30,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich isn’t just fighting for time with his daughter; he’s fighting to change the Americans with Disabilities Act, to protect not only the disabled, but parents of the disabled, on the job.
“Sometimes to do what’s right, it’s worth fighting for,” attorney Jonathan Bell said.
Bell said Victoria clearly needs her father, and the law should allow him to maintain his prior schedule.
“If you’re caring for a child or someone else, and as long as it’s a reasonable accommodation, that’s what we’re going through here,” Bell said.
The Postal Service wouldn’t comment on the Ulrich case, but said automation has cut the need for some early morning shifts, along with a 20 percent drop in mail volume nationwide.
But Victoria just wants her dad, even if it means a change in federal law.
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