WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of David D. Sweatt, a Michigan Army National Guard member currently serving in Iraq, against Americraft Carton Inc. (Americraft), alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. armed forces be timely reemployed by their civilian employers in the same positions, or comparable positions, as the positions that they would have held if they had not left to serve in the military. USERRA also prohibits discrimination in employment based on an employee’s performance, application, or obligation to perform military service.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, Mich., alleges that Americraft violated USERRA by discriminating against Sweatt, by failing or refusing to reemploy him in his previous position as a production worker when he returned from his National Guard duty, or, in the alternative, by terminating him without cause. After returning home from National Guard duty, Sweatt was later deployed to Iraq, where he is currently serving.
"Employers must not evade their responsibilities to employees who serve in the uniformed services," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division works to uphold the rights of those who serve in the military to be free from discrimination and other violations of USERRA."
The Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department Web site at: http://www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp.