Southwest Airlines Military Leave Litigation

Huntsman v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 4:19-cv-00083 (N.D. Cal.)

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Summary of Lawsuit

This lawsuit alleges that Southwest Airlines Co. violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”) by failing to pay employees normal wages during periods of short-term military leave.

Summary of the Claims

The Complaint alleges that Southwest has maintained a policy and practice of continuing to pay employees’ normal salaries during leaves-of-absence such as jury duty leave, bereavement leave and sick leave; however, this policy and practice does not extend to short-term military leave. Under USERRA, Southwest is required to treat military leave as no less favorably than other comparable forms of non-military leave. By providing normal wages for employees on other comparable forms of leave while refusing to offer the same for employees on short-term military leave, the Complaint alleges that Southwest is violating USERRA.

Class Action Allegations

This lawsuit is brought on behalf of the following class:

Current or former employees of Southwest Airlines Co. who, during their employment with Defendant, took short-term military leave (which Southwest defines as military leave that lasted 14 days or fewer) from their employment with Southwest Airlines Co. and during such period of short-term military leave did not receive the regular wages or salary that they would have earned had they continued to work their ordinary work schedules, from October 10, 2004 through the date of judgment in this action.

Excluded from the Class are all former or current employees who previously reached settlements with or judgments against Southwest in USERRA actions concerning Southwest’s failure to pay wages or salaries during periods of short-term military leave.

Status of Litigation

The Complaint was filed on January 7, 2019. Defendant filed its Answer to the Complaint and a Motion to Transfer Venue on April 10, 2019. The Court denied Defendant’s Motion to Transfer Venue on July 19, 2019.

Defendant filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on August 28, 2019, which the Court denied on November 27, 2019.

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Class Certification on October 21, 2020. The Court granted the Motion for Class Certification on February 3, 2021. Defendants filed a Petition for Permission to Appeal the Class Certification decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on February 17, 2021. The Ninth Circuit subsequently denied the petition on March 10, 2021. Discovery is ongoing.

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. (
Ming Siegel, Paralegal (
Block & Leviton LLP
1633 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 200
Washington DC 20009
(202) 734-7046

Vincent Cheng, Esq. (
Block & Leviton LLP
100 Pine Street, Suite 1250
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 968-8999

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.

Download Complaint

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