Accardi v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
383 U.S. 225 (1966)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Accardi v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co., 383 U.S. 225 (1966)

Accardi v. Pennsylvania Railroad Co.

No. 280

Argued January 20, 1966

Decided February 28, 1966

383 U.S. 225

Syllabus

Petitioners, after military service in World War II, returned to their employment as tugboat firemen with respondent, Pennsylvania Railroad, which they had commenced in 1941 and 1942. Each was given the same amount of seniority he had before leaving, plus credit for the time spent in the service as required by the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. A strike developed in 1959 over the need for firemen on the new diesel tugs, which was settled the next year by petitioners' union and the railroads. The settlement agreement called for retention of firemen with 20 years or more seniority who wanted to remain. Other employees, including petitioners, were to be paid a severance or separation allowance determined by the length of "compensated service" with the railroad, a month of such service being defined as any month in which the employee worked one or more days, and a year of such service being 12 such months or a major portion thereof. Petitioners claimed that their years in the armed forces were to be included in calculating their separation allowances. When the railroad declined to adjust their allowances accordingly, petitioners brought this action in District Court, claiming that respondent's refusal contravened § 8 (b)(B) of the Act, requiring reinstatement "to [the former] position or to a position of like seniority, status and pay," as reemphasized by § 8(c), providing that a person reinstated "shall be so restored without loss of seniority." Respondent claimed that those provisions were wholly inapplicable, and also contended, in view of the § 8(c) provision that a reinstated veteran "shall not be discharged . . . without cause within one year after such restoration," that the Act had no application to any rights created by the settlement agreement. The District Court rendered judgment for petitioners, and the Court of Appeals reversed.

Held:

1. Failure to credit petitioners' "compensated service" time with the period spent in the armed services does not accord petitioners the right to be reinstated "without loss of seniority" guaranteed by §§8 (b)(B) and (c). Pp. 383 U. S. 228-232.

Page 383 U. S. 226

2. Respondent's contention that the Act does not apply to rights resulting from the contract, which was entered into over a year after petitioners resumed employment, is wholly without merit, since seniority status continues beyond the first year of a veteran's reemployment. Oakley v. Louisville & N. R. Co.,338 U. S. 278. Pp. 383 U. S. 232-233.

3. The case is remanded to the Court of Appeals for consideration of the issue of the District Court's computation of interest on the judgment awarded petitioners. P. 383 U. S. 233.

341 F.2d 72 reversed and remanded.

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