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USERRA Class Action Lawsuit against Delta Air Lines

On February 13, 2017, we filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of potentially thousands of Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots who are members of the Reserves or National Guard. The allegations in the Complaint identify Delta’s continued pattern of harassment and discrimination against our service members including actions and comments aimed at coercing and intimidating these military pilots into performing less military service while employed by Delta or risk being fired. In fact, one of our named plaintiffs was terminated because of his military service obligations and two others have been threatened with termination.

Alarmingly, one of the named plaintiffs was recently called to a meeting, on his own time, with Delta management and told he would be allowed to resign without Delta notifying his military command and the FAA — both of which would have far-reaching career implications in and out of the military. If he refused to resign, he would be terminated, and his military command and the FAA would be notified of his termination.

Other allegations in the Complaint further expose this corporate culture of discrimination and illustrate the pattern of harassing and discriminatory comments attributed to several high-ranking Delta management personnel about Delta pilots taking less military leave so as to not impact Delta Air Lines’ daily operations. You can read some of those comments here.

Additionally, Delta has a policy that punishes military service members for performing any military duties on days they may be on Delta’s payroll but not actually absent from Delta’s employment and that do not impact the military pilots’ obligations to Delta. Delta used to call this “double-dipping” (it’s properly referred to as “concurrent duty”) in an obvious effort to cast a negative light on the practice, but curiously Delta does not prohibit non-military personnel from doing other jobs or having other obligations on the same day they perform services for Delta.

Also, as alleged in the Complaint, Delta has steadfastly refused to accept certain forms of official Department of Defense documentation of a service member’s military service as “proof” of that individual’s service. Instead, Delta has insisted on requiring one particular document that contains specific verbiage or the individual would face repercussions including administrative leave and in some cases, termination.

Finally, the Complaint alleges that Delta has improperly calculated military pilot retirement contributions while those pilots were on military leave, failed to allow pilots at accrue sick time during military leave, and failed to allow pilots to accrue vacation time while on periods of military leave, even though pilots on other forms of leave are allowed to accrue those benefits. The law is clear that such contributions must be made and such benefits accrue whether the individual is working for Delta or performing military duty, yet Delta continues to refuse to make these contributions and provide these benefits to its pilots who have military obligations.

If you have any information about the allegations in the Complaint, please contact us directly.