Summary of the Lawsuit
This lawsuit challenges the City and County of San Francisco’s (“the City”) policies and practices governing military leave of city employees because they impose burdensome procedures not required by law and fail to provide servicemembers with certain benefits and proper reemployment in violation of the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), the California Military and Veterans Code (“MVC”), and the City and County of San Francisco Annual Salary Ordinances.
Summary of the Claims
The Complaint alleges that Defendants have adopted and applied various policies and procedures in violation of USERRA, the MVC, and the City’s ordinances including by, for example,
(1) requiring employees requesting military leave for longer than five working days to submit a written request form;
(2) failing to provide employees on military leave with continued accrual of vacation and sick leave despite providing that benefit to other types of leave such as furlough, jury duty, and union leave;
(3) failing to include city employees’ time for travel to and from military duty in the length of their military leave for determining their compensation for such leave provided by the MVC;
(4) applying procedures for buybacks of pension service credit that require employees returning from military service to submit a burdensome and unnecessary amount of paperwork that the City does not require for employees returning from other types of leave, and charging interest on pension buybacks;
(5) requiring lengthy and burdensome return-to-work procedures that deny employees returning from military service prompt reemployment and failing to reemploy them in a position in which they would have been employed if they had not taken military leave;
(6) failing to allocate to the City’s pension plan the full amount of mandatory employee contributions required under memoranda of understanding covering certain employee groups during their periods of military leave;
(7) failing to provide employees their full salary during the first 30 days of their military leave and supplemental pay afterwards as required under the MVC and the City’s Annual Salary Ordinances.
Class Action Information
This lawsuit is brought on behalf of the following persons:
All current and former employees of the City and County of San Francisco who took leave from their employment with the City to engage in qualified military service on or after October 10, 2004 and through the date of judgment in this action.
This lawsuit is also brought on behalf of the following subclasses:
Subclass I: All current and former City employees who (a) took a period of leave from their employment with the City to engage in qualified military service on or after October 10, 2004 and through the date of judgment in this action while they were members of the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System Pension Plan, (b) requested reemployment by the City after the period of military leave, and (c) were required to receive employee contributions to the Pension Plan from the City pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding that applied during the period of military leave.
Subclass II: All current and former City employees who took leave for a period greater than 30 days from their employment at the City to engage in qualified active-duty military service on or after October 10, 2004.
Status of the Litigation
The Complaint was filed on February 13, 2020. Shortly after the Complaint was filed, the City expressed interest in engaging in settlement discussions. The Parties then jointly requested that the case be stayed while the Parties engaged in settlement discussions. As a result, litigation has been stayed since March 2020 and remains stayed while Plaintiffs and Defendants have engaged in settlement discussions. The Parties have engaged in multiple settlement conferences with the assistance of Magistrate Judge Corley.
As part of those settlement discussions, the Parties concluded that certain information from members of the Class would be useful. As a result, a survey was sent to all members of the Class who could be identified from the records of the City.
A pre-settlement website has been set up at https://www.sfuserralawsuit.com for potential class members to submit a survey to help the parties understand the claims of this case and their scope.
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. (email@example.com)
Vincent Cheng, Esq. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ming Siegel, Paralegal (email@example.com)
Block & Leviton LLP
1735 20th Street NW
Washington DC 20009
Block & Leviton is co-counsel in this litigation with Outten & Golden LLP.