Justice Department has resolved a claim that American Airlines (American) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994

Justice Department has resolved a claim that American Airlines (American) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994

The Justice Department has settled an allegation that American Airlines (American) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by underfunding the 401(k) retirement account of U.S. Air Force Reserve veteran Thomas P. Harwood III when he returned to work following his service responsibilities.

Mr. Harwood is a retired Major General (O-8) who entered the U.S. Air Force in 1981, served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve from 1991 to 2016 and has been a commercial pilot for American Airlines since 1992.

“Federal law requires employers to promptly reemploy servicemembers after their military service obligations, and also requires them to promptly restore their retirement benefits as if they had no break in employment,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Employers who violate the civil rights of those who serve in the military will be held accountable. This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department’s ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of servicemembers who sacrifice to serve our country.”

Following the completion of Maj. Gen. Harwood’s military duty commitments in 2016, including one that had started in 2013, American both underpaid the make-up payments it due to his 401(k) account upon his return and deposited them long over the federally mandated 90-day deadline. American has agreed to pay Harwood $15,671 in monetary damages and to give USERRA training to all workers in its 401(k) department, under the conditions of the settlement.

Congress enacted USERRA to encourage non-career service in the military by reducing employment disadvantages; to minimise the disruption of the lives of persons performing military service, their employers, and others, by providing for the prompt reemployment of such persons upon completion of their service; and to prohibit discrimination and retaliation against servicemembers who file a claim under USERRA.

The Agency of Labor (DOL) submitted this incident to the department after its Veterans’ Employment and Training Service conducted an inquiry. The Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice handled the case and continues to collaborate with the DOL to safeguard the employment and benefits of service personnel.

Enforcement of servicemembers’ rights under USERRA is a top priority for the Department of Justice. On the websites of the Justice Department (www.justice.gov/crt-military/employment-rights-userra and www.justice.gov/servicemembers) and the Department of Labor (www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra), further information regarding USERRA is available.

»Justice Department has resolved a claim that American Airlines (American) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994«

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