FedEx employee entitled to military leave payment: court
A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a lower court and ruled that an employee of Federal Express Corp. was entitled to be paid for his military reserve leave.
Gerard Travers, who served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve, works for FedEx and performed his reserve duties while on leave, according to the ruling of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in Gérard Travers v. Federal Express Corp.
Mr. Travers did not receive compensation from FedEx for these absences because the company does not pay employees for military leave, but does pay workers who are absent from work for other reasons, such as function jury, sickness and bereavement, depending on the decision.
Mr. Travers filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Philadelphia under the Uniform Service Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994, challenging that policy. The district court ruled in favor of FedEx.
After careful analysis of USERRA’s language, a three-judge appeal panel concluded that Mr. Travers had made a claim under what he called “a law with a long history of protecting jobs and of the ancillary advantages of the Americas called to our common defense ”.
“Better understood, USERRA does not allow employers to treat service members differently by paying employees for certain types of leave while exempting military service,” the ruling said in sending the case back to the lower court.
In February, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago overturned a lower court decision in Eric White v. United Airlines Inc. and refused to dismiss a complaint filed by a reserve pilot and sued the airline for paid military leave.
Jonathan E. Taylor, director of Gupta Wessler PLLC in Washington, who represented Mr. Travers in the 3rd Circuit case, said in a statement: “This is a great victory for those who serve our country with honor and ask only that they are treated equally by their employers.
“The Third Circuit today joined the Seventh Circuit to explain that federal law requires full equality between military personnel and other employees when they take leave. Six appellate judges have now considered the employers’ arguments on this issue, and all six have strongly rejected them.
Lawyers for FedEx did not respond to a request for comment.
In July, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling and ruled in favor of a railroad in litigation filed by a former employee who accused him of raping USERRA when he returned to work after a deployment.