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Court Finalizes $6 Million Settlement in Pilots’ USERRA Class Action Suit

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

United Airlines will pay $6.5 million to settle a class action suit brought on behalf of more than 1,000 who served as military reservists and were called for duty between 2000 and 2010.  The suit charged that the employees were shortchanged by United during their absence.  United contributed to their 401(k) retirement plans based on minimum work schedules instead of paying each employee’s actual average work schedule during the year before the employee’s deployment.

Tags: Uncategorized

Can the National Guard Violate USERRA? DOJ Says It Did.

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

The Department of Justice is suing Missouri National Guard (MNG) for violating the USERRA by requiring Kinata Holt, a dual technician, to quit her civilian job prior to active duty service in the Army Guard and Reserve.  The DOJ is claiming that MNG refused to put Holt on a leave of absence which would deny her of 12 days of paid military leave to which she is entitled as a dual technician.   The DOJ is seeking an order enjoining the MNG from requiring dual technicians to retire from their civilian positions prior to service in the Army Guard and Reserve and is also seeking monetary relief for those who were denied their military leave benefits.  Being accused of violating USERRA looks “terrible” for the military, said Capt. Sam Wright, director of the Service Members Law Center, who believes the DOJ’s case is solid.

Tags: Uncategorized

USERRA Roundup: A Settlement, a Good Ruling, and a New Complaint

July 8th, 2014 · Comments Off

  • In Mann v. Penske Truck Leasing Co., William Mann will receive $85,000 in order to settle his claim against Penske Trucking.  Mann claimed that he was fired unlawfully after he was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant from the U.S. Air Force in 2011. After Mann was discharged due to a service related injury, he notified Penske that he could come back to work but would have some medical limitations.  Instead of reemploying him, Penske placed Mann on short term leave.  When Mann asked Penske for more time to recover for his injuries, he was fired two months later.

 

  • In Brown v. Con-Way Freight Inc., Dale Brown, the plaintiff in the case, claimed that Con-Way violated the USERRA by not fully reassigning him to his former position as a senior driver sales representative after he returned to work from being honorably discharged.  Brown said that in 2009,Con-Way placed him in a lower paying position due to medical restrictions from his injury he received on active duty.  By 2012, he had made a full recovery and told Con-Way he was able to return to his former position; he was instead told that he had to apply for open positions as they came available.  A few months later he was eventually hired as a driver sales representative but was treated as a new employee with no seniority bid on assignments, he also received a 40% pay reduction from what he was earning before his military leave.  The suit is seeking an adjustment to Brown’s seniority date as a driver sales representative and back wages for the six month delay in reemploying him once he asked for his reinstatement.

 

  • In Dubiak v. South Abington Township, the plaintiff, William Dubiak, claimed that he was denied reemployment from the South Abington Police Department after he left his job to serve in the Marine Corps in Iraq.  The defendant responded saying that Section 4311 of USERRA doesn’t apply in this particular case because it protects service members only after they are reemployed.  Although Section 4311 was never specifically invoked by the plaintiff, the judge still said the employer was wrong regardless for three reasons:  First, the law plainly does apply to several circumstances before reemployment, based on its text.  Second, even if the law were ambiguous, it would be constructed to be in favor of the plaintiff.  And third, the employer misstates the meaning of other circuit cases that do not have any authority in the Third Circuit.  The judge refused to dismiss the USERRA complaint because of the employer’s interpretation being wrong.

Tags: Uncategorized

EEOC Settles Two Sexual Harassment Cases and One Sex-Based Discrimination Lawsuit

June 20th, 2014 · Comments Off

Settlements up to $300,000 were reached in two separate EEOC Sexual Harassment Cases.  A settlement in the amount of $42,000 was reached in a sex-based discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC:

  • In EEOC v. SunTrust Bank, three female employees alleged they were subjected to sexual harassment by their branch manager at SunTrust Bank in Sarasota, Florida.  The allegations include making inappropriate comments and inappropriately touching the female employees.  When reported, these unprofessional acts went unpunished, charged the EEOC.  The EEOC states in its press release that the branch manager in question voluntarily resigned during the investigation, but was later rehired.  SunTrust will pay $300,000 to settle the lawsuit.
  • In EEOC v. Basta Pasta, Basta Pasta, an Italian restaurant in Fallston and Lutherville-Timonium, Maryland, settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with the EEOC for $200,000.  The lawsuit alleged numerous crude acts towards female employees by the owner, including making “sexually suggestive remarks,” and “rubbing his genitalia against the buttocks of some of them”.  Further allegations were made about attempts to drug and sexually assault other female employees.  Additionally, the EEOC charged that the restaurant told a female manager who complained about the owner’s behavior to “keep her mouth shut” and subsequently fired her.
  • In EEOC v. Winebrenner Transfer, Tina Thompson, a truck driver for Winebrenner Transfer, Inc. based in Hagerstown, Maryland, alleged that she was paid less than the male truck drivers at the commercial based trucking company.  Thompson alleged that she was fired after sending a text message to the owner of Winebrenner Transfer about the difference in pay for the same work.  Winebrenner Transfer Inc., settled the case with the EEOC for $42,000.

Tags: Sex Discrimination · Sexual Harassment

Fourth Circuit: Employers Can Be Liable for Third-Party Harassment of Employees

May 29th, 2014 · Comments Off

A federal appeals court ruled that employers may be held liable for sexual and racial harassment of their employees by third parties such as suppliers or customers.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit adopted a negligence standard for finding companies liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, echoing an earlier non-precedential opinion and following the example of several sister circuits.

“[A]n employer cannot avoid Title VII liability for [third-party] harassment by adopting a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ strategy,” a three-judge panel said in Freeman v. Dal-Tile Corp. Companies will be held to account, the panel said, if they knew or should have known of the harassment and failed to take prompt action.

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Tags: Race Discrimination · Sex Discrimination · Sexual Harassment · Title VII