The Department today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas against Stonescape Pavers LLC alleging that the company willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by firing Matthew T. Denning without cause when he returned from active duty.
Enacted by Congress in 1994, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees or applicants for employment because of their past, current or future military obligations. Subject to certain conditions, USERRA requires that employers promptly reemploy returning service members and prohibits employers from terminating service members except for cause for 180 days after their reemployment.
Denning, a former Utah Army National Guardsman and current Air Force Reservist, was a salesman for Stonescape when he was called to active duty to deploy to Iraq with the Utah Army National Guard in January 2006. After he was honorably discharged in June 2006, Denning was reemployed by Stonescape. The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Stonescape terminated Denning without cause in August 2006 during his statutorily protected reemployment time period.
"In enacting USERRA, Congress recognized that it is important to protect the employment rights of the men and women who serve our country in uniform by protecting them from discharge without cause," 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 our nation’s military."
The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Denning’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Justice Department for litigation.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. This is the 17th USERRA suit the Justice Department has filed this year on behalf of service members. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web sites at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and http://www.servicemembers.gov, as well as on the Labor Department’s website at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.