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Alaska Airlines & Horizon Air Industries Military Leave Litigation

Alaska Airlines & Horizon Air Industries Military Leave Litigation

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Summary of Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Alaska Airlines, Inc. and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) by subjecting employees who took military leave to Horizon’s uniform “virtual credit” policy and by failing to provide normal wages to employees on short-term military leave.

Summary of the Claims

Under USERRA, servicemembers who take leaves of absence are required to receive the same rights and benefits as other employees who take comparable forms of leave and servicemembers have the right to be reemployed to the same position with the same rights and benefits had they not taken military leave, treating military leave as continued employment.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants have violated USERRA in two ways:

First, the Complaint alleges that Horizon pilots must work at least 70 hours per month to maintain the status as Regular Line holder, which provides greater compensation and benefits than other pilot positions. Horizon’s policy of “virtual credit” provides only 2.45 hours of credit per day to pilots on military leave even though they typically work more than 2.45 hours on a normal working day. As a result, the Complaint alleges that this makes it harder for Horizon pilots to reach the minimum 70 hours per month to maintain their status as Regular Line holder and results in their demotion and loss of the compensation and benefits associate with that status.

Second, the Complaint alleges that Alaska and Horizon have failed to provide the regular salaries to employees during their short-term military leave despite paying normal wages to employees who take comparable forms of leave.

Class Action Allegations

This lawsuit is brought on behalf of the following classes:

1. The Virtual Credit Class: all current and former employees of Horizon or any subsidiary, joint venture, or division of Horizon who were subjected to Horizon’s “virtual credit” policy with respect to a period of military leave, from May 1, 2017 through the date of the judgment in this action.

2. The Paid Leave Class: all current and former Alaska or Horizon employees who have taken short-term military leave from October 10, 2004 through the date of the judgment in this action.

Excluded from the Classes are the following persons: (a) all former or current individuals who previously reached settlements with or judgments against Defendants resolving or releasing any claims arising during the Class Period under USERRA related to any of the claims in this lawsuit; and (b) any person who served as a fiduciary of the Plan and their beneficiaries under the Plans and any member of the immediate family of and any heirs, successors or assigns of any such person.

Status of Litigation

The Complaint was filed on January 7, 2019. Defendant Alaska Airlines Pensions/Benefits Administrative Committee filed its Answer to the Complaint on April 17, 2019. Defendants Alaska Airlines, Inc. and Horizon Air Industries, Inc. filed a Motion to Dismiss on April 17, 2019. The Court denied their Motion on June 16, 2019. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on July 1, 2019. Defendants filed their Answer to the Complaint on July 15, 2019.

Case Documents

Whom to Contact for More Information

If you are a member of the proposed class or you have information which might assist us in the prosecution of these allegations, please contact one of the following persons:

R. Joseph Barton, Esq. (jbarton@blockesq.com)
Ming Siegel, Paralegal (ming@blockesq.com)
Block & Leviton LLP
1735 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20009
(202) 734-7046

Block & Leviton is co-counsel in this litigation with Outten & Golden LLP, Crotty & Son Law Firm, PLLC, and the Law Office of Thomas G. Jarrard LLC.

Contact us to learn more about this lawsuit.

Block & Leviton LLP
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Boston, MA 02110
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