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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to Enforce the Employment Rights of Former Air Force Reservist

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a consent decree with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that, if approved by the U.S. District Court, will resolve the department’s complaint filed in May 2009, alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). 

The department’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento, Calif., alleged that while on active duty, Air Force reservist Dany Felix aggravated a pre-existing back injury and also sustained a new back injury, resulting in his being honorably discharged. According to the complaint, when Felix sought reemployment, the CDCR violated USERRA by failing to promptly and properly reemploy him.  The consent decree obtained by the department requires the CDCR to pay Felix a monetary award of $43,750 and requires the CDCR to comply with all of USERRA’s provisions.  Under the terms of the consent decree, the CDCR has adopted a revised policy regarding reemployment of persons with service-connected injuries or limitations and the CDCR will provide employees with training regarding USERRA’s reemployment requirements.

"USERRA protects the reemployment rights of the men and women who serve our country, including service members who are injured during service and require an accommodation from their employer," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  "The department is committed to vigorously enforcing those rights."

The Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Felix’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Department of Justice for litigation.

Both the Departments of Justice and Labor place a high priority on the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA.  "Our two agencies work closely together to ensure that our service members are treated right when they return from service," said Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training. 

Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department website at www.servicemembers.gov and www.justice.gov/crt/emp , as well as on the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra .

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