Foster v. Dravo Corporation

RESPONDENT:Dravo Corporation
LOCATION:Neville Island Shipyard

DOCKET NO.: 73-1773
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 420 US 92 (1975)
ARGUED: Jan 20, 1975
DECIDED: Feb 18, 1975
GRANTED: Oct 15, 1974

Harry R. Sachse – for petitioner
Robert H. Shoop, Jr. – for respondent

Facts of the case

Earl Foster began working for Dravo Corp. in 1965. In 1967, he worked the first nine weeks of the year before being called for military service. He served for 18 months before returning to Dravo to work the last 13 weeks of 1968. Under his collective bargaining agreement, employees earn full vacation benefits if they work at least 25 weeks per year. Under the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA), veterans returning to civilian jobs are entitled to their job at the same level of seniority, status and pay as when they left. Foster did not receive vacation benefits for 1967 and 1968, so he sued in district court, arguing that he would have received those benefits had he worked for Dravo while he was in the military.

The district court ruled in favor of Dravo, holding that the vacation benefits did not accrue automatically with continued employment and so were not tied to seniority. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed, but remanded the case to determine whether Foster should receive partial vacation benefits for the time he worked in 1967-68.


(1) Is Foster entitled to full vacation benefits upon his return from the military, even though he did not work the required weeks?

(2) If not entitled to full benefits, is Foster entitled to partial benefits for the time he did work?

Media for Foster v. Dravo Corporation

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument – January 20, 1975 in Foster v. Dravo Corporation

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 18, 1975 in Foster v. Dravo Corporation

Warren E. Burger:

The — I have three opinions to announce for Mr. Justice Marshall.

In 73-1773, Foster against Dravo Corporation.

For reasons stated in an opinion written by Mr. Justice Marshall and filed this morning, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.