The FAA has agreed to reinstate an employee with benefits including four years of back pay for failing to comply with Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act requirements to reinstate employees after a break in employment for active military duty, the Office of Special Counsel has said.
The OSC recounted that the employee was an air traffic control trainee when he left for active duty in the Navy but on his return his manager “told him she could not assist him” and the agency’s HR office “incorrectly advised him he would have to apply for open positions like any new hire, despite the FAA’s obligation to promptly reinstate him under USERRA,” the OSC said.
He did so but was not offered a new position for more than a year but while being onboarded the agency declared him medically disqualified. He appealed that decision and ultimately won, although “at a significantly lower salary level than he would have attained had he been properly reinstated four years earlier. He also lost out on substantial pay, benefits, and seniority due to the delay, setting his career back and costing him and his family significant income,” the OSC said.
He also filed a USERRA complaint with the Labor Department, which found it had merit and referred it to the OSC, which has enforcement powers over that law. The OSC said that after negotiations, the FAA agreed to compensate him four years’ of lost wages, fully restore his seniority and retirement credit, and raise his pay to reflect reinstatement as of the end of his military duty.