United Airlines is in the sights of a US Air Force Reservist who was denied sick leave accrual during the periods he was conducting military service.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago-based airline allegedly exempted military leave from the types of leave that allow employees to accrue sick time.
Now-former USAF Reserves officer Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Fandrei -who served on active duty from 1990 to 2001 and completed his AFRES service in 2016- was a commercial pilot with Continental Airlines when he was sent on a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia in December of 2012, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Monday.
When Fandrei returned from his assignment, he was informed that he would not be credited with sick leave on months that he flew for the USAF, as he did not work at the airline during that time. Continental’s pilot contract did not allow sick leave during tours of duty, but did so during vacation, sick leave or taking a position with the Airline Pilots Association.
United and Continental merged in 2010, and pre-merger United pilots’ contracts did not allow sick leave accrual during deployments.
“We believe our policies and practices are fully compliant with the requirements of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. At United, we are proud of and are committed to supporting the many aviation professionals at our airline who served or who are currently serving in the military,” the airline said in a statement in response to the lawsuit.
Fandrei’s lawsuit seeks only 10 hours of sick leave and an order that requires United to comply with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, or USERRA.
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