WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tracey Marshall, a first sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, against the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County, Fla., (“the Clerk”) alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, alleges that the Clerk violated USERRA by failing and refusing to reinstate Marshall to her civilian employment position as supervisor of the Court Clerk II Section. The Department’s complaint alleges that Marshall would have been employed as supervisor of the Court Clerk II Section if her continuous civilian employment with the Clerk had not been interrupted by Marshall’s activation to full-time military duty in August 2005. USERRA requires that reservists who are called to active duty be reemployed by their civilian employers in the same positions that the reservist would have held had he or she not been called to active duty.
The complaint also alleges that the Clerk violated USERRA by transferring Marshall from the Court’s Felony Department to its Traffic Department at a lower rate of pay because Marshall took action to enforce a protection afforded her under USERRA.
“This nation values the sacrifices made by its military reservists. No service member should be disadvantaged in the workplace for answering a call to duty” said Rena J. Comisac, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice remains committed to fully protecting the employment rights of persons who serve in the armed forces.”
The Justice Department’s lawsuit was filed after the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor referred complaints filed by Ms. Marshall to the Justice Department upon completion of its investigation and unresolved settlement efforts. USERRA provides that the Department of Justice may appear on behalf of, and act as attorney for, persons whose complaints are referred to Department of Justice by the Department of Labor.
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice was given authority over USERRA in 2004. Since that time, the Division has brought 16 USERRA complaints and resolved 13 USERRA claims on behalf of servicemembers, and filed the first ever federal class action lawsuit under USERRA.
Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department Web site at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.