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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case Dec. 9, re longevity pay

In Robert D. DeLee v. City of Plymouth (ND Ind., Moody), a 20-page opinion, Judge Flaum writes:

Pursuant to a long-standing local ordinance, the City of Plymouth, Indiana pays its police officers “longevity pay” after each work anniversary, calculated by multiplying $225 by the number of years that the officer has been on the force. Faced with financial difficulties in 1989, Plymouth enacted a second longevity pay ordinance pertaining to police, which prorates longevity pay for officers who take a leave of absence during any given year, including for military service. During police officer Robert DeLee’s twelfth year on the job, he missed nearly eight months of work while serving in the United States Air Force Reserves. And so, when he re-turned, Plymouth paid him one-third of his full longevity payment for that year. DeLee sued, arguing that longevity pay is a seniority-based benefit to which the Uni-formed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301–4335, entitles him in full. Because we conclude that Plymouth’s longevity benefit is more appropriately characterized as a reward for lengthy service, rather than as compensation for work performed the preceding year, USERRA guarantees DeLee a full longevity payment for his twelfth year of employment. Accordingly, we reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Plymouth.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 10, 2014 09:01 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions