Travers v. Federal Express Corp., No. 20-2703 (3d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Travers served in the Naval Reserve. He also works for FedEx and fulfilled his Reserve duties during his leaves from work. Travers received no compensation from FedEx for those absences because the company does not pay employees for military leave. FedEx does pay employees who are absent for other reasons, like jury duty, illness, and bereavement. Relying on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), Travers challenged FedEx’s decision; 38 U.S.C. 4316(b)(1) entitles employees taking military leave to the “other rights and benefits” their employers give to employees taking similar kinds of leave. The district court dismissed Travers’s complaint, concluding that paid leave was not a “right and benefit” under USERRA.
The Third Circuit vacated. USERRA directs employers to provide the benefit of compensation when they choose to pay other employees for comparable forms of leave. USERRA describes a process for evaluating an employer's alleged disparate treatment of service members on military leave. It does not create a class of rights and benefits. This is not a dispute about whether USERRA guarantees paid military leave; it concerns whether section 4316(b)(1) allows Travers to allege that FedEx extends a right and benefit in the form of pay to employees who miss work for non-military reasons, but then denies pay to those absent for military service.