United Airlines wins dismissal with prejudice in USERRA class action
Clients United Airlines Inc.
The court granted Jones Day's motion to dismiss a putative class action with prejudice on behalf of United Airlines Inc. involving a novel theory of liability under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"). The plaintiffs argued that because the company offers other forms of paid short-term leave (e.g., jury duty), it therefore had to provide paid short-term military leave as well. The plaintiffs also sought increased profit-sharing based on the paid military leave they claimed they were due.
The court agreed with Jones Day's argument that the plaintiffs' interpretation was contrary to the text of USERRA and the case law, which establish that private sector employers are not obligated to pay employees during military leave. This is one of four similar cases brought against airlines recently, and the only one where the court granted the airline's request for dismissal.
White v. United Airlines, Inc., et al, No. 1-19-cv-00114 (N.D. Ill.)