Postal Service worker fired for National Guard service wins back pay
Posted Jan 10, 2014 1:03 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A National Guardsman fired from the Postal Service for “excessive military leave” has won reinstatement along with back pay and benefits.
The award by the Merit Systems Protection Board could total more than $2 million, report the Los Angeles Times and Stars and Stripes. Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, who serves with the Army’s Special Operations Command, has fought a seven-year battle for his rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.
The Postal Service had contended Erickson had abandoned his job, so it was entitled to fire him even though he had been away from work for less than five years, the leave period protected under the federal law. The Postal Service also contended that Erickson did not meet a deadline to ask for his job back.
But the Merit Systems Protection Boards said the deadline did not apply because Erickson was wrongfully fired, according to the Stars and Stripes account.
Erickson was fired in 2000 while on an overseas operation, and then decided to go on active duty. He has been awarded medals for valor and a Purple Heart.
“It’s a shame,” he told Stars and Stripes. “You go over there and fight the enemy, then you come back here and have to fight your employer for your job.”