In one of the largest cases ever under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), an Air Force reservist has won another round in his battle for his federal re-employment rights.

The reservist was working as a financial advisor for a Connecticut firm, paid on a commission basis, when he was called to active duty in 2001. After he was demobilized, his employer offered the reservist a book of business that required him to "cold call" to rebuild his accounts. The reservist objected and filed suit, claiming that he should have been returned to his original or comparable client accounts, since the new book of business diminished his responsibility and pay level. USERRA specifically guarantees that a service member be returned to a position of similar pay and status.

A lower federal court and then the appeals court agreed that the employer had violated USERRA, awarded the reservist more than $926,000 in lost pay and damages, and ordered him reinstated to his original position.

The case is an important one, says the reservist's attorney, especially with the activation of so many Guard and Reserve members. People with commission jobs should get back not just their jobs but their earnings.

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