A U.S. Postal Service worker who was in charge at the Unity Post Office until last year has filed a lawsuit accusing her employer of retaliation after she demanded that they take a death threat allegedly made by a co-worker more seriously.
Diana Mallard of Skowhegan, who has been on medical leave from the Postal Service since August 2013, claims in the suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Bangor that instead of taking the threat against her more seriously, her supervisor became angry and “began to treat her in a hostile manner.”
Mallard’s attorney, Guy Loranger of Old Orchard Beach, said in the 10-page complaint he filed on her behalf that Mallard learned in a conference call on July 25, 2013, with the Postal Service’s Threat Assessment Team that one of the employees she supervised had told a health care provider that she “would have killed (Mallard) if she could have.”
Mallard had been assigned as a higher-ranking postmaster at the Corinna Post Office until July 2012, when she was reassigned to Unity. That was about a year before the alleged death threat, according to the suit.
In Corinna, Mallard’s strict enforcement of time recording policies made some of the mail carriers “very angry,” including one woman identified in the lawsuit as Jean Asadoorian.
Mallard alleges in the lawsuit that Asadoorian made several threatening remarks about her to a health care provider, who was required by law to report them to authorities.
She accuses Asadoorian of also saying, “I want to kill my boss,” “If I had the means my boss would be dead” and “I am having homicidal feelings toward my supervisor.”
After she learned of the alleged threats, Mallard left work for four days “fearing for her safety,” the lawsuit says.
During that time, Mallard said her supervisor called her “to inform her that the sheriff had made contact with Asadoorian, who claimed she was not serious and was sorry.” Mallard claimed that her supervisor, who is not fully named in the lawsuit, also pressured her to return to work although she was still apprehensive.
“(Mallard) continuously told her supervisor that she did not feel safe with Asadoorian’s continued employment with the USPS,” Loranger wrote in the suit.
Asadoorian, reached by telephone shortly after the lawsuit was filed, said she also hadn’t seen it yet.
“This is so blown out of proportion,” said Asadoorian, who still works for the Postal Service. She declined to comment further.
Loranger did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Mallard ultimately returned to work for two days after the alleged threats on July 29 and 30, 2013, but then went on vacation for several weeks. It is unclear from the lawsuit whether she ultimately returned to work, although she remained in email contact and joined a meeting with her supervisor at the Postal Service’s headquarters in Portland on Aug. 27, 2013.
Two days after Mallard met with her supervisor in Portland, she received a doctor’s recommendation to take an unspecified amount of time off from work “due to her increased anxiety and stress” caused by the alleged threats and the Postal Service’s actions afterward. She has not worked since and is currently on leave without pay.
The lawsuit names only the head of the U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, as a defendant.
Mallard is seeking an unspecified amount of money in damages, lost wages and legal costs.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at: