An Army Special Forces sargent, fired by the U.S. Postal Service more than a decade ago, has been awarded millions of dollars in damages and must be given back his job.
Rick Erickson, a Green Beret, lost his job because he took too much military leave time as a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. However, an administrative law court recently ordered the Post Office to restore Erickson to his former position and pay his lost wages, benefits and legal fees. The service may have to pay Erickson more than $2 million in compensation, Human Resources Journal noted.
Erickson’s attorney noted that his client had offered to settle his claims in 2006 for less money. Now, the Postal Service is hemorrhaging billions of dollars and is looking trim services to cut expenses.
After losing his job, Erickson returned to the Army National Guard and served in Afghanistan, where he was wounded. He has been battling the Postal Service since 1999, claiming that any leave he took from his job was protected by the Uniformed Services Employment & Reemployment Rights Act.
The Post Office indicated that it will appeal the ruling. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board has directed the service to reinstate Erickson by January 18, 2013, at which point it would have to begin offering him a salary. An appeal could drag the case out for years.