Justice News

Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 16, 2009
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Indianapolis Law Firm to Enforce the Employment Rights of Indiana Army National Guardsman

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on behalf of Mathew B. Jeffries, an Indiana National Guard member, against the Indianapolis law firm of Mike Norris & Associates, alleging that the law firm refused to promptly reemploy Jeffries in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. military be timely reemployed by their civilian employers in the same position, or in a comparable position to the position that they would have held had they not left to serve in the military.

In February 2003, Jeffries, a staff attorney with Mike Norris & Associates, was called to active duty and deployed to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq. Upon his completion of active duty in April 2004, Jeffries contacted Mike Norris & Associates to seek reemployment. The firm refused to reemploy him, so Jeffries filed a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). VETS investigated the matter, determined that Jeffries’ claim had merit and, upon completion of conciliation efforts, referred the matter to the Department of Justice.

"The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects men and women from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service in the armed forces," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws that protect the employment rights of men and women who are serving in the military."

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice 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: www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp.

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