Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, a Special Forces member wrongly fired by the U.S. Postal Service while on an operation in 2000, is entitled to reinstatement plus 13 years of lost pay and benefits, a federal board ruled Monday

Sgt. Maj. Richard Erickson, postal worker, veteran wrongly fired by USPS while on an operation in 2000, is entitled to reinstatement plus 14 years of lost pay and benefits, MSPB ruled Monday

Richard Erickson, a distribution Clerk was removed from his position at Fort Myers Processing and Distribution Center (Fort Myers, Florida). Erickson filed an MSPB appeal under Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), asserting that he was improperly removed because of his military service and requesting that he be reinstated. The MSPB administrative judge (AJ) found that USPS violated USERRA by removing Erickson from his position but nevertheless denied him any relief. The AJ’s decision was based on the determination that Erickson subsequently waived his reemployment rights under USERRA by abandoning his civilian employment in favor of a military career. MSPB  denied Erickson’s appeal TWICE and the Court of Appeals has remanded this case back to MSPB TWICE.  Read on….see previous background on this case

7 Years of Litigation Poised to Yield 14 Years of Back Pay, Benefits, Attorney Fees, and Retirement Enhancements

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) on Tuesday refused to let the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wiggle out of a Judge’s December 2012 order to retroactively reinstate and provide 14 years of back pay and benefits to one of the highest ranking Army Special Forces (commonly called “Green Berets”) Non Commissioned Officers, whom the Postal Service unlawfully removed in 2000 solely because of his military service and in violation of the federal law called the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

In denying the Postal Service’s appeal, the Board dismissed their argument that the highly decorated veteran should not be entitled to reinstatement as relief for the agency’s discriminatory firing of him because of his courageous military service. The Board noted that the Post Office was wrong in its interpretation of USERRA, and by correctly providing full relief to Sergeant Major Richard Erickson it has bolstered the foundation for what will likely be one of the of the largest awards in an employment discrimination case against the Postal Service and the federal government.

The Board’s latest decision in Erickson v. U.S. Postal Service centered on service members’ protections against discrimination based on military duty under USERRA. It marked another victory for Sergeant Major Erickson, whose service in Afghanistan earned him three medals for combat distinguished valor and the Purple Heart for combat injuries. With this latest decision, he stands to receive millions of dollars in back pay, benefits, attorney fees, and retirement enhancements.

Since 2007, MSPB administrative judges have twice ruled on the case (2007, 2012) and Tuesday’s decision marked the Board’s third ruling (2008, 2010, 2013). Two of those Board decisions were prompted by remands from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2009, 2011) making this one of the most litigated cases of military discrimination in federal government history.

More than 2,650 days – or more than seven years and three months – have passed since Sergeant Major Erickson filed his initial appeal with the MSPB in September 2006. Throughout that time, Tully Rinckey PLLC, a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business, has not asked for nor received a penny from Sergeant Major Erickson for its representation of him despite incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal and litigation costs.

In this latest victory for Erickson, the Post Office filed a petition for review (PFR) in January 2013 about a December 2012 Judge’s decision in Erickson’s favor. In the PFR, the Post Office opposed Sergeant Major Erickson’s reinstatement based upon a flawed interpretation of USERRA according to the final MSPB decision. The Board gave the Postal Service 20 days to reinstate Sergeant Major Erickson and 60 days to provide him with back pay and benefits, which is long overdue to right a wrong that occurred nearly 14 years ago.

“It has been a long, hard fight for Sergeant Major Erickson to get to this point but we are very pleased that the Board has finally granted him the remedy that he justly deserves. The final step now is for the Postal Service to do the right thing by complying with the Board’s decision so we can avoid additional appeals or subsequent litigation regarding the Postal Service’s compliance. The Postal Service had voiced its concern regarding the cost of additional litigation in this matter, including as a basis for not reinstating Sergeant Major Erickson after the administrative judge’s decision a year ago, and we hope that concern will be reflected in their efforts to fully and promptly comply with the Board’s decision and the law.” said Tully Rinckey PLLC Senior Associate Matthew D. Estes, who represented Sergeant Major Erickson before the Board during the most recent legal victory.

23 Comments

  1. NJ City Carrier says:

    And no one will be held accountable, no one will be disciplined, no one be removed. Some how some way someone will get a bonus for this travesty

  2. 1ST Cav 229th AHB VN 67-69 says:

    any time you sue the po, or file a grievance for back pay you must state in writing how, when, where, how much,you are due incompensation. otherwise the rats will not pay, or delay as long as they can by saying “the administrative law judge” never stated in his award when we have to pay……..never give these snakes room to wiggle off the hook. I saw this happen time and again……..when they put me on the street because I was a shop stupid, I had judge put in award when and amount with a time limit………1 years back pay was given to me within 90 days of award. scum suckers lose again lol.

  3. All Your TSP Belong To Us ! says:

    And not one postal mgr will be held accountable.

  4. V. Velez says:

    Is anybody sick to there stomachs on how the USPS continues to break the laws ?
    Is anyone also sick to there stomachs on how Obama is constantly destroying our hard fought Constitution with his signing of his very illegal “executive orders” in what seems like is a daily occurrence. This time, and recently, he signed a “EO’ that pushes back one on the ACA (Obamacare)mandates and pushes this provision back to take effect one week after the next national elections. Do i have to explain why he did this ?
    This provision delays one week, what the law stipulates as telling the nation exactly how much the peoples health insurance would be skyrocketing up and how many will not be able to have any insurance, unless they want to lose there homes cars, etc. He is legally required to have Congress pass this changing of any provisions in it (Obamacare). I am telling you, all people here, I understand the theory is that Obama and the other democrats are and usually protect the working families, but at what cost, so everyone in the Post Office votes mainly for the Dem candidate. But you have been lied too, deceived too, taxed to death too……etc…etc… What will it take for the people to vote with there morals ? Hell, he never created any jobs since he was in, no infrastructure jobs that we needed, and still need so badly. All of these little and punie jobs that are being created now, and the one’s he is taking all credit for, are in fact the jobs that always come and go, and, AND, these so-called jobs that have been created during the last months or so, have been 97% PART TIME, and under $12 an hour. Vote for a candidate that has morals and wants to help this country.
    And now this Colorado legalizing pot/smoking (Co. is a Liberal state with no morals), is another blow to the demoralizing of this country and it’s values. Even when we all hear about all the death and injuries from stoned drivers, and what all those incidents represent, the Liberals will find some reason to justify that it is not a bad thing to do. Funny, most people in the USPS are no-moral Liberals and idiots, who care nothing about others, just themselves. Really guys, look around, how many employees do you talk to, who really are moral people, who care about the next guy, and then ask yourself how many will be the first one to take off on another bullshit break, and they are lost in another unit for another 30 minutes, or more.. How many do this that work right next to you, and leave you to do the work ? I know at the Des Mooines NDC, they are the one s that are right next to you..
    Another things guys, you better get your finances in order and start saving your money, and stop living like you are going to be getting your now pay, for many tears to come. It is going to stop. Better start investing your money and have a game plan. The party is almost over folks. We saw this USPS situation 15 years ago, and we have saved accordingly. We have still many years to go, and even with that sever downturn in the 2007/2008 time frame, we paid off our house, our cars all have clear titles, and we both have never been hurt, so we are lucky there, and have $600,000 in various and safe accounts. Post office and it’s current pay system will not exist in 10 years, no way around that, so we both should be ok when that time comes. Why, we do not go out to eat at lunch time at the NDC, but we bring our food in, we do not have all the top TV options, or have to have to go out every weekend, nor have the trendiest clothes, and such, and you can see how much that all adds up over time…. Listen up folks, this, “bad times” are coming.
    Mark our words, some of us work hard, and some in that union office take advantage of the others that are on the workroom floor. We all know what that is all about, and no names have to be mentioned. How about one of you running for office, and then maybe more will get back into the union/’s, and maybe people will get the help they deserve when they need it, instead of sitting by, and picking and choosing the cases to fight for when approached, and all union cases are worth fighting for. Hey union people, you ever figure out why your union membership is like at, ZERO. Nobody trust you. Are you doing this job for yourself, or for the pay and job title. You should not get pay for this, not if you care about the employees. Oh, and all those perks you people in the union get, all those costly and very fun vacation you people take, all paid for by others membership dues. Time for a change people. Just takes one or two, or three to get these people out.

  5. Lehigh Guy says:

    Right On!

  6. All Your TSP Belong To Us ! says:

    Deceive, deny, deflect.

    The postal mgmt. mantra.

  7. Vetrous K. Hines says:

    @V.Velez,
    I use to work there, back in the 90′s, and it was going on then too.
    But I thought they weeded out all those selfish union officials. Why do
    they keep voting them peoples in. It is like nobody is running against them, or nobody really wants to deal with all that crap. In the late 90′s, one peoples in my opinion, just sat in the union office all day, and did nothing or very little. Fact or fiction, who knows, but peoples were very unhappy with the performance that was being done. That was also the time when everything was running smoothly. So why was the peoples given permission to do this, and not be on the floor doing some work. Bottom line, you have to vote out the leader/president/steward’s of local Des Moines mail facility. Just talk to some of the employees, and have one person run, and at least whoever does win, it will get that other peoples out of there, who by the way, should have been long gone, and should have resigned. Sounds kind of like this peoples is so very burned out, but loves the cushy cushy job that being in that office offers. And I think Velez is correct, that union job, the holder does get another check. Also heard back in the late 90′s, that this elected peoples was on the job and drinking at the local bar, and was on the clock at the same time. But who knows what is rumor and fact. Can somebodys just run, and get these people out of there. Should be some union term limits. Two terms and then you become just a steward.
    Any thoughts from you former Des Moines and current employees from there.

  8. Dav says:

    Ain’t nuttin’ new ! Just ask mid 70′s Part Time Flexies ? An ear full of wrong doing ! ! Same ol’ Same ol’ ! ! !

  9. pat N says:

    It’s about time the Sgt. Major got what is due. Shame on the PO for sticking it to this guy for so long.

  10. south jersey deviler says:

    Congrats sERGEANT major-You made them pay and pay big. Has the Postal Service ever won a grievance? Good job trying to not pay a Veteran who was serving our Country. Yow should be embarassed.

  11. Renaldo says:

    Hey V. Velez- you are very delusional with some of your criticisms. Obama can’t do anything regarding infrastructure improvements (which he wants very much to do) without any help from Congress. The obstructionists in Congress (aka Republicans) would rather see him fail than try to work with him.
    Regarding your 600K saved, good for you. Thank the union for fighting so hard for you and other workers over the years for the good wages you make than enabled you to save that amount.
    As far as weed, you are backwards there also. Alcohol is entrenched in this country, and does far more damage than weed. Any complaints about that? How about the alcohol than comes in so many flavors in every color of the rainbow? It’s being advertised on a billboard near you, I’m sure. When more states realize the tax revenue that will be raised in Colorado and Washington from legalization, they’ll be ready to jump on board with legalization also. Within 10 years, at least ten more states will have legalized weed. Count on that!
    As far as morals, keep voting for candidates on social issues while those same guys you just voted for stab you in the back on every imaginable other issue that could help the working stiff.
    Moral issues? It’s not the Dems that drag us into these wars we can’t afford or need to be involved in.
    Get a clue dude!

  12. Captn Jack says:

    Hope he is able to retire with the added 14 years. Collect the check and retire!

  13. home says:

    That’s why I support 100% privatization

  14. ImagineNation says:

    As usual, USPS loses another p*ssing contest. Well played, Sergeant Major!

  15. don says:

    I agree that some one in postal management should be fired for this huge money lost. More importantly for this embarrassment of the post office. How does this service keep in place these idiots who flaunt the law and bring shame on our buisness? Bye the way this isn’t over, the P.O. hasn’t paid. Wait and see, the same fools will try to delay and cost us more money.

  16. Terry D. Doe says:

    Congrats S M Erickson, I’m still waiting for my check after winning my case of wrongful removal. I am a 4 year Navy vet with 24 years of postal service time,I was accused of assaulting my supervisor (who took a dive to the floor and tried to pull me on top of him while screaming don’t hit me!don’t hit me) he lied and the US Court of Appeals vacated my assault and removal,and the MSPB ruled procedural errors in my favor. 1190 days of back pay ,interest ,OT, AL, SL, and interest.20 days for my job back and 60 days for back pay.It’s been over 200 days without the check! i am working though, it’s a fight all the way, I will have 32 years on Feb.5th. Best of luck to you ,I’m still incurring legal bills!

    p.s. THE supervisor is now a PM with no consequences???
    In Solidarity TERRY

  17. Terry D. Doe says:

    My cases were US Court of Appeals 2011-3162
    MSPB Docket Number PH-0752-10-0292-M-1 Final Order June 10,2013

  18. andy says:

    what a joke!

  19. Uncle Ben says:

    USPS has moved from being a not for profit organization whose mission goal is to all Americans and the US Constitution to the so-called “stakeholders” consisting of mailing organizations profiting off underpaying the USPS.

    Today while politicians clothed themselves in patriotism–at the same time these politicians are working hard to eliminate middle class jobs– clearly federal and postal jobs. This is done in the name of patriotism.

    USPS management has for decades been saddled with leaders chosen by Republicans and after Democratics elect people like Clinton and Obama, USPS has been saddled with top management chosen to represent the Republican philosophy.

    So, today we have post offices with staffing reflecting Republican and Obama philosophy that cutting federal jobs is good for America.

    At the same time we have, the USPS strongly advocating big discounts for big mailers while raising postage for ordinary Americans.

    Also while rural post offices are converted to private retail stores with the misleading USPS logo that seems to promise established history of service, we have supervisors from small post offices who are in the habit of riding roughshod over contractual obligations now running higher level post offices– while enjoying free hotels, cars and some over $70 dollars for food.

    So suddenly we have small post office supervisors being tasked to supervise higher level post offices and this is supposed to be patriotic.

    Patriotic?

    USPS is in the Constitution.

    For many years USPS management promised that hiring management off the street would save the postal service. This case proves either the management was incompetent or there is need for an independent investigation of the whole USPS>

  20. Bill Gallagher says:

    This story should be printed in every mayor newspaper in America and the TALK shows should find the ones who did this unlawful act…..

    Fox 25, Bill O’Riely and others should rise the flag hight to motivate the general public,,,,

    Bill Gallagher

  21. Velez says:

    @Reanaldo,
    Your reply borders one from a 2nd grader.
    So your justifying smoking pot with people being able to drink, is that it ?
    Never said drinking is ok, Re-read what I wrote and do not put words into my mouth.
    Smoking pot is just going to add to moral issues we are already going downwards.
    You need to get a clue. As you are another Liberal (as i wrote apply’s to you).
    You are obviously a democrat/liberal who as I mentioned above, justifies everything that goes on by comparing to another bad law, immoral agenda, passed or otherwise. You stinking dem’s/liberals will say anything to get your agenda passed (not caring what repercussions and havoc it causes on the rest of the country), and as I have stated millions of times before, will blame all evils on the GOP. Smoking pot is wrong, and I do not have to explain that to stoners such as you to get my point across that this will lead to further decay of our society. And I do not have to back that up with reasons about how that is bad, and what drinking has done to this country. We all know that, so why go there. But you did, because you do no have a clue to mount an adult reply, or else you wouldn’t have mentioned a topic we already know is causing issues. GET A CLUE, bro.
    Wake up and smell the roses.
    Obama is a trader, and you most likely have someone in your family that cannot support himself and are on one of his freebie programs. That is what the Liberal and Dem’s do, right ! I have to work, so everyone else can sit at home.
    Go read a book. Both parties suck big time and obviously are only interested in there agendas. But please do not insult me with the GOP being against OBAMA. The guy wasn’t born here, and should be impeached for total lack and illegal means he and his highly paid lawyers have done to hide all of his personal records. He even denied ever meeting his uncle, and then months later when he was showed a video of him actually meeting him, he later said he forgot he met him (are you serious obama-you frikking lair. He is on pace to letting Iran have the bomb, and now the Al-Qaeda has taken over 2 large cities in IRAQ, and because he wanted us out of there. Paper Tiger. All those trillions spent, and what do we have to show for that ? Nothing.. Should I go on about his illegal “EO’s” ? Do you even know what eo’s are ? He breaks the law everyday. Impeach that black bastard..Why he hates whites I do not know or understand. Probably was made fun of, and swore if he could, he would take everyone’s money away, and give it to the folks that do not want to work. Michele is the same way. The people will always hate white America. They will forever blame the white’s for all of there problems over the generations. Hey Jamima, you see that white person, well they enslaved us a long time ago. So we have to hate them forever. This is 100% fact. The North never got any thanks for freeing them, and what it did to our families (killed/maimed in battle, lost lands, farms, businesses/etc), but we do not blame the blacks for anything. These people want continued handout for eternity.
    The GOP has so many problems, as they are very greedy and could care less about the common folks. So Renealdo, do not sit here and pretend every bad or negative law or issue, is the fault of the GOP. Both sides have to take equal blame. Actually if you look at corrupt moral issues over the generations, most of those that sided with passing laws that favor one group over another, then you have to look no further than your beloved Dem’s. They have passed some of the most illegal and sinful bills(and into laws)
    that we have ever seen. Yes my dear Renaldo, your Dem’s are actually the biggest racist this country has ever seen. Just go look it up, or google it. Your eyes will be open. Well, maybe in your case, and with all those facts in front of you, you will still deny it. Because that is what you Lib’s do, deny and discard the truths. And only for your immed. personal gain. So you see Renaldo, you do not have a clue, and if you did, well…
    .

  22. Renaldo says:

    Hey Velez- Why do you assume that anyone that partakes marijuana is a stoner. How ignorant can you be? Is everyone that takes a drink a drunkard? MJ has many medicinal properties, clueless one (that’s you!).
    You talk about Al-Queda, who got us into that bogus war?
    Your comments about Obama show what a complete racist and hater you are.
    The only thing we agree on is both parties are corrupt. The Dems just throw us a few crumbs now and then.
    Keep your hating going on, you seem to excel at that.
    Now go watch Fox News and go listen to some archived Rush broadcasts.
    And once again, thank your union that you were able to make that good wage and save your dollars.
    Velez = clueless, bitter hater.

  23. Scooter says:

    Even if the Postal Service files another appeal, under the Judges ruling they have just 20 days to reinstate Erickson and 60 days to begin paying compensation, they aren’t going to be able to fudge on that part of the ruling, appeal or not. Another appeal could take up to two years to litigate, USPS has already lost 3 straight ruling’s and it’s not likely to win on another appeal, and they would still have to pay Erickson’s legal fees when it’s all said and done. If offered his job back Erickson could show up for work for 1 day and simply resign (or retire if he’s eligible) and still collect all his legal fees and back pay. My guess is he will decline the offer of reinstatement and just take the back pay and legal fees and quietly retire if he’s eligible, or simply walk away. News reports indicate that the attorney’s for Erickson are currently in negotiations with USPS to satisfy the terms of the judges ruling, so it’s possible the Postal Service higher ups will decide it’s time to cut their losses, because continuing to drag this out will only end up costing them hundreds of thousands in additional legal fees and give the agency an even bigger black eye.