Federal Daily News
Appeals court sides with former postal worker in USERRA complaint
A federal appeals court ruled in favor of an Army Reserve sergeant major who filed a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act complaint alleging that he was fired from his job 11 years ago as a postal worker because of his military career.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Feb. 28 overturned a Merit Systems Protection Board ruling that Army Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson of Fort Myers, Fla., had waived his USERRA rights. Erickson was in the Army National Guard for 15 years before transferring to the Army Reserve in 2006. He was fired in 2000 by the Postal Service for “excessive use of military leave” in his duties in the Florida National Guard.
The Postal Service argued that Erickson’s absences from duty exceeded the five-year cumulative time limit in USERRA. However, the court found that Erickson’s time spent in military training required for promotion and special skills met the law’s requirements to temporarily suspend the five-year clock. The court remanded the case to MSPB. The ruling could make Erickson eligible for reinstatement, plus an award of 11 years of back pay and benefits.
Erickson’s attorney, Mathew B. Tully, said the ruling further clarifies the “abandonment” principle under USERRA and will help other military members by making it more difficult for public and private employers to fire them.
To see more, go to: www.tullylegal.com/press_release_03_01_11.html (press release) or