The Department of Justice announced today the filing of a lawsuit against the Missouri National Guard (MNG) alleging that the MNG violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by requiring its dual technician employees to resign from their civilian positions prior to active duty service in the U.S. Army Guard and Reserve.
According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the MNG violated the USERRA rights of dual technician Kinata Holt by requiring her resignation, as a civilian dual technician, prior to her being called to active duty with the U.S. Army Guard and Reserve. According to the complaint, by refusing to place Holt on furlough or leave of absence, the MNG’s resignation requirement denied her the benefit of 15 days of annual, paid military leave to which she would have been entitled as a dual technician. USERRA not only prohibits employers from placing additional prerequisites on civilian employees before allowing them to serve in the military, but also mandates that employers place employees who depart for military leave on “furlough” or leave of absence status and not require them to quit their civilian jobs.
This lawsuit seeks, among other injunctive relief, a court order enjoining the MNG from requiring the resignation of civilian dual technicians from their civilian positions prior to service in the U.S. Army Guard and Reserve. The suit also seeks monetary relief for those who were improperly denied military leave benefits as compensation for the damages that were incurred as a result of the USERRA violation.
“Employers have a legal obligation under USERRA to provide promised benefits to individuals who choose to serve in the military,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the rights of those who choose to serve their country through military service.”
This case stems from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) following an investigation by the DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The case is being handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division.