WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it has settled its employment lawsuit on behalf of Tracey Marshall, a sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, against the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Hillsborough County, Fla.
The Department’s complaint, filed last October in the U.S. District Court in Tampa, alleged that the Clerk’s Office violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The Clerk’s Office failed to reemploy Marshall in her prior position as supervisor of the Clerk’s Court Clerk II Section of the Circuit Criminal Division when she return from active duty in October 2005. In addition, it is alleged that the Clerk’s Office retaliated against Marshall after she took action under USERRA, by transferring her from the Clerk’s Circuit Criminal Division to the Clerks Traffic Department, which offered a lower pay rate.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the Clerk’s Office will reinstate Marshall to Manager of the Court Clerk Area of the Clerk’s Circuit Criminal Division and pay her a $2,500 monetary award.
"The sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform are invaluable to this nation, and we have a duty to ensure that their civil rights are protected as they are serving our country," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the employment rights of those who serve in the armed forces."
USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. USERRA prohibits discrimination against persons based upon their military service. In addition, USERRA requires employers to reemploy service members upon their return from military leave, and to provide reemployed service members with "seniority and other rights and benefits determined by seniority that the person had on the date of commencement of service in the uniformed services plus the additional seniority and benefits that such person would have attained if the person had remained continuously employed."
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice assumed responsibility for the enforcement of USERRA with respect to state and local governments and private employers in September 2004. Since that time, the Division has filed 25 USERRA suits on behalf of service members, including the first-ever federal class action lawsuit under USERRA, Woodall v. American Airlines.
Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.servicemembers.gov, and on the Department of Labor Web site at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.