WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today it has filed a settlement that, if approved and entered by the U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, N.M., will resolve its employment lawsuit under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), on behalf of Army Sergeant Jared Caldwell against Acme Towing & Recovery Inc. of Albuquerque, N.M.
USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Among other things, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating in their treatment of such employees by denying initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion or any other benefit of employment where the employee’s uniformed service is a motivating factor in such treatment.
The United States’ complaint, filed in September 2007, alleges that Acme violated USERRA by first demoting and then terminating Sergeant Caldwell from employment due to Caldwell’s absences for required duty with the U.S. Army Reserve.
The settlement requires that Acme and Eddie Ray, the prior owner of Acme, pay Caldwell $19,000 in back pay, less legally required employee income tax withholding and other statutory employee deductions.
“Our military reservists must be allowed to serve without suffering the consequence of losing their civilian jobs,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “I am pleased that we were able to resolve Mr. Caldwell’s claim and provide him with the appropriate relief.”
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Department of Justice web site at the following link http://www.servicemembers.gov, and on the Department of Labor Web site at the following link http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.