Between the following two options-a federal statute or a
private employment agreement-which wins?
v. BAE Industries (5/16/12) [pdf], the 6th Circuit ruled that the
contract trumped USERRA.
After returning from serving with the Marines in Iraq,
Jerome Oswald claimed that BAE limited his duties and responsibilities compared
to his pre-deployment work, failed to give him a raise, transferred him to a
lesser position, and ultimately fired him.
Unfortunately for Oswald, he waited until almost three
years after his termination to file suit against BAE. The 6th Circuit concluded
that his feet-dragging doomed his lawsuit:
Plaintiff's employment contract does not eliminate all
procedural rights in that it only shortens the time frame that Plaintiff can
raise a USERRA claim. Because the contractual period of limitations diminished
a right under USERRA that was merely procedural, [it] does not override the
contractual limitations period on that basis....
Because Plaintiff's complaint was untimely under the
180-day period in the contract, the district court did not err in granting
summary judgment to Defendant....
There are two key takeaways from this case:
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