Joliet Cop Wins Compensation in National Guard Pay Dispute
A veteran cop who sued the city of Joliet over his deployment in the Illinois National Guard is entitled to the salary and benefits denied him during a stint on voluntary active duty, according to a panel of federal judges. In overturning a district court ruling, they said the Uniformed Service Members Employment and Re-employment Rights Act covered David Mueller as he took part in a state drug task force in 2015. The act is designed to preserve the civilian jobs of weekend warriors that are called on to supplement the regular armed forces.
Mueller had 23 years in when he applied for the call-up but was told by supervisors that the JPD wouldn’t pay him during the months he’d be away. The veteran cop quit the taskforce midway through and returned to the force, suing the city under USMERRA. The city moved for dismissal and Judge Harry Leinenweber in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted the motion, saying the duty was authorized at state level under US Department of Labor rules and thus not subject to the federal statute. However, judges in the 7th Circuit Appellate Court disagreed, saying that the language in USMERRA authorized compensation.