Justice Department Settles Class Action Lawsuit With American Airlines Regarding...

Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:26pm EDT

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Justice Department Settles Class Action Lawsuit With American Airlines
Regarding Employment Rights of Military Pilots

 

WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice
today announced that it has reached an agreement with American Airlines that,
if approved by the U.S. District Court in Dallas, will resolve the
Department's class action lawsuit against the nation's largest commercial air
carrier, alleging it violated the Uniformed Services Employment and
Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).  The Department's complaint, filed
in 2006, alleges that American did not allow three named plaintiff pilots, and
a class of similarly situated pilots, to accrue vacation and sick leave
benefits while on military leave to the same extent as pilots on comparable
forms of non-military leave.                          

The settlement agreement, if approved by the court, requires that American
Airlines pay the class of 353 pilots a total of $345,772 for the loss of
vacation and sick leave benefits, and provide currently employed pilots with
sick leave credits at an estimated value of $215,000.  The settlement
agreement also calls for American to modify its existing policies and
practices to ensure that, in the future, all pilots who are called to serve in
the military will continue to accrue appropriate vacation and sick leave
benefits. 
 
"The sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, including military reservists, are
invaluable to our nation.  No member of the military should be disadvantaged
for choosing to serve our country and for answering the call of duty," said
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.  "The Department of Justice remains
committed to protecting the employment rights of all Americans serving in the
Armed Forces."

The lawsuit is the first class action brought by the Department of Justice
under USERRA.  The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit following a
referral from the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) of the
Department of Labor.

"The Department of Labor and the Department of Justice are working in tandem
to vigorously protect the employment rights of the men and women who bravely
serve in America's armed forces," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "By
successfully concluding this first-ever USERRA class action lawsuit, we have
helped more than 300 service members who just wanted their benefits back after
answering the call to duty." 

Additional information about USERRA can be found at
http://www.servicemembers.gov and
http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.


SOURCE  U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Department of Justice, +1-202-514-2007, TDD: +1-202-514-1888
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