Email avalanche

The Postal Service is reminding employees to avoid reply-all email debacles.

It usually starts with an email addressed to you and a large number of other recipients.

Instead of responding directly to the sender, one of the recipients responds reply-all to everyone in the email distribution list. Another person does the same thing. Then another, setting off a chain reaction.

In moments, your inbox is flooded with dozens of unwanted email responses.

Annoyed, you respond by sending a reply-all email asking recipients to not reply-all. Another person does the same thing. Then another.

Soon, the email flood becomes a tsunami.

If you wind up in this situation, the CyberSafe at USPS team offers a simple yet effective solution: Stop replying.

When no one replies, the message tsunami will ebb, often within a few minutes.

Aside from being annoying, reply-all emails add unnecessary strain on the Postal Service’s email servers.

Additionally, employees who continue to reply-all risk having the organization restrict their email privileges.

If you must send an email message to many recipients, use the bcc — blind carbon copy — line, which prevents recipients from replying all.

Management Instruction AS-870-2019-1 Electronic Messaging has additional information.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, an annual commemoration of the 1941 attack, will be observed Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Postal Service facilities are required to fly the U.S. flag at half-staff this day.

To fly the flag at half-staff, hoist the flag to the peak for an instant and then lower it to the half-staff position. The flag should be raised to the peak again before it’s lowered for the day.

The USPS Administrative Support Manual has additional guidelines on U.S. flag display and maintenance.

Disability self-ID

The Postal Service has introduced an online version of PS Form 2489, Self-Identification of a Physical or Mental Disability, and is encouraging all employees with disabilities to complete it.

The form allows employees to self-identify as an individual with a disability or to update a disability status already on file.

For example, an employee may now have a disability that they didn’t have when they were hired. Disability includes many kinds of mental and physical conditions; the form goes into detail on them.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires the Postal Service to make sure employees have a way to self-identify their disability status — and the new online version of the form makes that even easier.

Data collection is confidential and follows commission guidelines.

Employees can submit a form electronically through LiteBlue by selecting the “Disability Self-ID” link.

To access the form on Blue, click “Log On” in the upper right corner and enter your ACE ID and password. Then select the “My Life” tab at the top of the page followed by “HR Employee Self Service” (under the “My Profile” heading) and “Disability Self-ID.”

Employees can also request a paper copy of the form from their supervisor. Instructions on where to mail the completed paper copy are included on the form.

Completion of PS Form 2489 is not a request for reasonable accommodation.

A request for reasonable accommodation can be made to your supervisor or manager or any Postal Service supervisor or manager; your district human resources manager; or the Reasonable Accommodation Committee chairperson.

Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing can also make a request for accommodation to their district disability coordinator.

The decision to fill out the form is voluntary. Employees who do so help the Postal Service ensure that everyone has equal opportunity in the workplace.

‘Free and equal’

The Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week is human rights.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood,” reads the first of the 30 articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

That declaration was proclaimed more than 70 years ago. And yet the 2021-22 annual report from human rights watchdog Amnesty International found the following:

• 43 percent of countries have introduced new laws to stop people from peacefully expressing their rights.

• 55 percent use excessive or unnecessary force against demonstrators.

“2021 should have been a year of healing and recuperation,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary general.

“Instead, it became an incubator for deeper inequality and greater instability, a legacy caustic for years to come.”

If this turn for the worse is a matter of concern to you, the website for the campaign, also known as the CFC, makes it easy to help:

• Under “CFC Giving System” on the homepage, choose “online charity search.”

• In the “Find A Charity” section, you’ll see “Select a Specific Category. While there is no specific human rights category, there are many that touch on it. A few to try are “Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy,” “International, Foreign Affairs & National Security” and “Public & Societal Benefit.”

The Combined Federal Campaign is the federal government’s workplace charity drive.

The latest campaign began September 1 and runs through January 14.

Participation in the CFC is voluntary.

The GiveCFC.org website has more information.

This is the 12th in a series of articles spotlighting the Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week. Next week: environmental protection.

Grab your Checkbook

The Postal Service is reminding employees they can use Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans for Federal Employees to compare their options during this year’s open season.

The guide has details about all plans available through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

The comparison tool includes information on copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and whether dental and vision benefits are included in specific health plans.

Most FEHB plans will see benefit and rate changes for the coming year, some may drop out of the program, and others may change service areas or coverage options. Thus, it is important to check current offerings.

Checkbook has published its annual guide to federal benefits for more than 35 years. This is the fifth year USPS has provided free access for all employees and retirees.

Employees can access the guide through the Open Season LiteBlue page.

Open season, the annual period when employees can change their health coverage or enroll in a new plan, will conclude Monday, Dec. 12.