Huhmann v. Federal Express Corp., 874 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2017)

Dale Huhmann alleged that when he returned from serving in the United States Air Force, he was paid a signing bonus of $7,400 instead of the $17,700 bonus that he would have received had he not served. In a bench trial, the district court ruled in Huhmann’s favor, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. The appellate court held that: (1) the case was properly decided in court and not before an arbitrator under the Railway Labor Act; (2) the district court properly applied the reasonable certainty test to determine that Huhmann would have received the higher bonus had he not served; (3) the district court properly determined that Huhmann was reasonably certain to have achieved the status necessary to receive the bonus had he not left for his military service; and (4) the district court correctly concluded that the bonus was, in part, a seniority-based benefit.