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US complaint: Plymouth reservist deprived of benefits

July 16, 2012

A U.S. Air Force reservist was illegally denied longevity pay when he returned to his job as a police officer in Plymouth, according to a federal complaint.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana David Capp said a complaint had been filed against the city alleging violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994.

Reservist Robert D. DeLee has been a patrolman in Plymouth for more than a dozen years and has been a member of the Air Force Reserve since before joining the force, according to a news release.

DeLee was mobilized for active duty from September 2010 to May 2011, but when he returned to active duty on the police force, the department refused him longevity pay that he would have received if he had not been called up, the complaint alleges.

“No service member should ever lose their seniority-based benefits provided by civilian employment because they took time out to protect our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “No employer, whether a city or a private company, can deprive a service member of rights that USERRA affords through implementation of its own policy or local ordinances.”

Subject to certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to promptly re-employ returning service members to the position they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service, and to provide them with all benefits of employment to which the employee would have been entitled if he or she had not been called up to active duty.

 

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