WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kevin Stenger, an Indiana National Guard member, against Wagner Industrial Electric Inc. (Wagner), alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. armed forces be timely reemployed by their civilian employers in the same positions, or comparable positions, as the positions that they would have held if they had not left to serve in the military.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Dayton, Ohio, alleges that Wagner violated USERRA by failing or refusing to promptly reemploy Stenger to his previous position as a foreman when he returned to work after his two weeks of annual training with the Indiana Army National Guard at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Upon the completion of his two-week military training, Stenger contacted Wagner to seek reemployment in his foreman position. Instead, Wagner reemployed Stenger as a journeyman, a position with a lower salary, fewer responsibilities and fewer opportunities for overtime.
"No person should lose his civilian job for choosing to serve in the military," 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 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 at: http://www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp.