WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today announced that it has filed a lawsuit alleging that Titan Laboratories Inc., and its owner Harvey Berger willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by discriminating against and failing to reemploy U.S. Army reservist Miguel Orozco Garduño (Orozco), of Mountain View, Calif. The suit was filed in federal district court in California.
Under USERRA, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against servicemembers because of their obligation to perform military service. In addition, and subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that servicemembers who leave their civilian jobs to serve in the military be reemployed promptly by their civilian employers in the same positions, or in positions comparable to the positions they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service.
The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that while Orozco was away on military leave, Titan and Berger terminated Orozco’s employment because of his military obligations and hired a permanent replacement who did not have such obligations. The complaint also alleges that when Orozco completed his honorable military service and requested reemployment, Titan and Berger refused to reemploy him because he had been replaced.
"Rather than face discrimination because of their military obligations, our service members should be honored for the sacrifices they make, and they should know they will not have to also sacrifice their jobs to serve our country," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws that protect the employment rights of our servicemembers."
The case stems from a referral by the Department of Labor following an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.
The Justice and Labor Departments place a high priority on the enforcement of servicemembers’ 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: www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp, as well as on the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.