Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Expansion Of Investigation Into Potential Violations Of The Uniformed Services Employment And Reemployment Rights Act
U.S. Attorney Encourages Retired City Employees Who Were Called to Active Duty Since 9/11 to Come Forward if They Believe Their Pensions Were Calculated Unlawfully
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States Attorney’s Office is broadening the scope of its investigation into the illegal calculation of pensionable earnings by the City of New York to include all retired City employees who were called to active military service since September 11, 2001, and are collecting a pension from the City, to determine if they are receiving the benefits to which they are entitled under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”).
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As we said when we filed our class action lawsuit on behalf of retired NYPD officers who were called to active duty after 9/11, we are committed to ensuring that all retired City employees who selflessly and bravely served our country since 9/11 receive the benefits to which they are legally entitled. Since the lawsuit was filed we have received dozens of inquiries from veterans who worked in other City agencies, prompting the expansion of our investigation. We are now encouraging any covered City employee who thinks his or her benefits were unlawfully calculated to come forward by contacting our Office so we can assess whether the unlawful practices identified with respect to the NYPD extend to other City agencies as well. Each and every City employee who was called to active military service is entitled to have his or her pension calculated consistent with USERRA.”
On August 2, 2012, the United States filed a class action lawsuit against the City of New York (the “City”), the New York City Police Department (the “NYPD”), and New York City Pension Fund, on behalf of all current and retired NYPD officers who have performed active military service since September 11, 2001, or who will do so in the future. The class action suit alleges that the City unlawfully calculates the pensionable earnings of NYPD officers called to active military duty by relying exclusively on their base pay rate, instead of including the overtime or night shift differential compensation they would have earned had they not been on active military duty, as required by USERRA. As a result, service members are being deprived of pension benefits they would have been reasonably likely to receive, but for their military service.
The class action lawsuit seeks to require the City to lawfully calculate the pensionable earnings of all current and former NYPD officers who were called to perform active military service after September 11, 2001, or who will be called to service, to recalculate the pension benefits they are currently receiving, and to remit any additional pension benefits owed as a result of performing these recalculations.
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All former employees of any City agency who were called up to active service in the military since September 11, 2001, are encouraged to contact the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for more information at (212) 637-0840.
This case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Tara M. La Morte and Arastu K. Chaudhury are in charge of the case.