Is It Illegal For Postal Employees To Subcontract?

This question is inspired by the old “Seinfeld” episode, where Jerry winds up delivering the mail for Newman (on Sunday):slight_smile:
Suppose you are a mail carrier-you decide that you would rather sit at home (you don’t like walking). You find a young man, who is willing to do your route (for a payment f $12.00/hour)-so you contract with him, and he agrees to do your route. You collect your paycheck, and you pay the guy to do your work-is this illegal?
What Federal Law prohibits subcontracting in this way?

IANAL and I am not a postal employee, but I work for a company that does federal contracting.

The employee in this situation is not subcontracting. Subcontracting is when you have a prime contract and you hire another contractor to do some of that work. The employee you describe, because he is an *employee *and not a contractor himself, is effectively creating a contract with the federal government in violation of federal contracting regulations. Only a federal contracting officer can enter into a contract on behalf of the government. Not only that, but he might be considered to be creating an employment relationship with the young man, unless he has created his own legal entity to contract to him. But I doubt he is collecting tax withholdings, payroll tax, etc., etc. This employee is going to be in trouble on both sides of the equation.

I can look up specific laws of you want but the basic answer is most of it and not just for postal workers. You can’t do that for the vast majority of jobs anyone is hired for. One obvious example is that the U.S. postal code is severe and normal people aren’t allowed to open other people’s mailboxes at all to put things in or take things out with the threat of fines or imprisonment. That basically kills the idea of a freelance postal delivery person on its own. I am sure there are thousands of more of them if you go into things like handling other people’s bills and cash payments just because someone slipped you a few bucks. Time-sheet fraud comes to mind for the postal worker. For the fill-in, having a bag of other people’s mail could be prosecuted as theft.

The mind boggles. Why would you think this would be legal in any way?

Also, a carrier only spends two-thirds of his shift out on the street. Before he leaves the post office, he will case and sort the mail for his route into order for delivery in the pattern he prefers.

I’ve wondered about “sub-hiring” in general. Is the employer paying for the employee themself to do the work, or are they paying the employee to make sure that the work gets done? E.g. under the second system, the “official” mail carrier would just be responsible for finding some way to make sure their duties get performed, and if the kid the carrier finds doesn’t get the job done, then the postal service would go after the official carrier and have no recourse against the kid, and the official carrier (or ex-carrier) would have recourse against the kid. (privity of contract and whatnot)

The former. It’s not just “making sure that the work gets done”, but making sure that the work gets done by somebody who’s authorized to do it.

For instance, when an electrical-repairs company gets a call for service, the customer expects that the service person will actually be a qualified electrician. If the electrician sends over his non-electrician brother-in-law to handle the problem instead, he could get himself and his company in big trouble.

For one thing, it’s illegal in many places for contractors who are not licensed electricians to do electrical work professionally, and if they get caught, the company’s liable for fines as well as potential lawsuits.

For another, business liability insurance regulations will require the company to comply with proper procedures including licensing of employees. If an unlicensed substitute screws up a job and causes some expensive damage, the company’s liability insurance won’t cover it.

Google “unauthorized subcontractor” to get an idea of what other kinds of consequences this sort of practice can have. Consequences are not limited only to situations where the work wasn’t properly performed, either; the mere fact of having let somebody work on a job who wasn’t explicitly authorized to do so can be grounds for penalties or voiding a contract.

So, when you call up one of those ambulance-chaser law firms (that advertise on TV), to handle your “slip and fall” accident lawsuit-and they steer you to another law firm, this is OK?
I fell and hurt my back…and I ant James Sokolove!