7th Circuit Reverses Lower Court Decision Concerning Military Employment
David Mueller, Joliet Police Department Sergeant and member of the National Guard, received orders to report for full-time National Guard duty from May to September 2016. Shortly thereafter, Mueller received an email from Joliet’s Chief of Police indicating that he would be placed on an unpaid leave of absence, that he would not accrue personal time off while deployed, and that he would have to use his benefit time while away. Mueller subsequently sued the City of Joliet for violating the Uniformed Service Members Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA), as well as the Illinois Military Leave of Absence Act. The district court hearing the case dismissed it, noting that USERRA did not cover Mueller’s position, but Mueller appealed to the 7th Circuit. The ruling reversed the district court’s dismissal, concluding that Congress in fact did intend for Mueller’s service to be covered by USERRA and that National Guard duty under Section 112 of Title 32 is under federal authority. If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your military duty or status, contact a Grant & Eisenhofer attorney for a free consultation.