WASHINGTON- The Justice Department announced today that it has resolved claims made by U.S. Army Reserve member Kyle A. Sharp against ServiceMaster 24-Hour and Gregory Tullar, ServiceMaster’s owner and operator, alleging that they violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The department alleged in its complaint that ServiceMaster and Tullar violated Sharp’s rights under USERRA when they failed to reemploy him following his return from active military duty in November 2010.
Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals 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.
According to the department’s complaint, filed today along with a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, ServiceMaster and Tullar violated USERRA by not reemploying Sharp in his pre-service position as a crew chief for ServiceMaster in and around Scottsdale, Ariz. Sharp was ordered to report for active military training in the United States Army in May 2010 and notified Tullar of his upcoming military service. Upon his release from active military training, Sharp notified Tullar that he wanted to return to his job as a full-time employee with ServiceMaster. Tullar informed Sharp that a new crew chief had replaced him in his absence and would be continuing in that position and did not reemploy Sharp. Sharp filed a USERRA complaint with the Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service, which investigated and attempted to resolve the complaint before referring it to the Justice Department. Under the terms of the consent decree, ServiceMaster and Tullar will pay Sharp $15,000 in back pay to resolve Sharp’s USERRA claims.
“Employers have a legal obligation to reemploy our uniformed service members after they return from military duty,” said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to vigorously enforcing the federal laws that protect the rights of our service members who sacrifice so much to serve our country.”
“Our military service men and women sacrifice tremendously to serve our country,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel. “At the very least, this agreement should give military personnel the peace of mind to know that they will not lose their job while they bravely serve. Additionally, it is a reminder to employers that they have an obligation to do their part.”
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has made the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA a high priority. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department website: 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/main.htm.