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State Government Is Immune From Trooper’s USERRA Claims

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) was passed by Congress to encourage non-career service in the armed forces through the reserves or National Guard by requiring, among other things, prompt reemployment after temporary military duty, and prohibiting discrimination by employers against employees for serving in the armed forces. In 1998, an amendment to USERRA created a private right of action enforceable against states in their own…

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USERRA Does Not Prohibit Proration Of Longevity Pay

Robert DeLee is a Plymouth, Indiana police officer who is also a reserve officer in the Air Force. DeLee was called up for eight months’ active-duty deployment from September 1, 2010 to May 11, 2011. The City pays longevity premiums to officers with at least three years of service. At the time of his reserve service, DeLee had worked for the City for 12 years, and was entitled to…

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Return-To-Work Policy Amounts To Illegal Military Discrimination

By 2002, Brian Petty had reached the rank of sergeant with the Metropolitan Government of Nashville-Davidson County. To supplement his income as a police officer, Petty also moonlighted as a security guard at two local restaurants. In addition to these two positions, Petty served as a member of the Army National Guard. He joined in 1986 and opted into the Army reserve in 1989. In 2003, the Army deployed…

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City’s Military Leave Policy Violates Federal Law

Kenny Benetiz was hired as a police officer by the City of Montebello, California in May 2007. In 2008, Benetiz was notified by the Marine Corps that he was being activated for military service. Benetiz began his military service in January 2009, and was deployed to the war zone in Iraq. Under the City’s policies, Benetiz did not continue to accrue annual leave while on his military leave of…

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Probationary Employees And USERRA

A recent California case examined the relationship between probationary status, seniority, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The case involved Johnnie Paxton and Brandon Contreras, who were probationary police officers with the City of Montebello, California, when they were activated for military service. The City reinstated them to their probationary status and credited them with having completed eight months of probation. The officers successfully completed…

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Under Eleventh Amendment, Trooper Has No Right To Sue State For USERRA Violations

One of the features of Supreme Court jurisprudence in the last decade has been the Court’s application of the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution to bar individual lawsuits by employees against state governments. The most important case in the area is Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706 (1999), where the Court held that state employees could not bring Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) lawsuits against their employers…

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Deployed Police Officers Have No Right To Take Promotional Examinations Where They Are Deployed

Juan Sandoval and Sidney Pennix are Chicago police officers. When the City scheduled a promotional examination for the position of sergeant on March 25, 2006, Sandoval was deployed in El Salvador and Pennix was deployed in Iraq. Both asked for the opportunity to take the test outside the United States. Ernst & Young administers Chicago Civil Service exams outside Chicago. Both Sandoval and Pennix were offered the opportunity to…

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