The United States has reached a settlement that will resolve its suit filed on behalf of retired Army service member King A. Gatten against Knight Protective Service Inc. The department’s complaint, filed in September 2009, alleges that Knight willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by failing to promptly and properly reemploy Gatten upon his return from active military duty in the position he would have held had Gatten’s employment not been interrupted by his military service.
Under the terms of the settlement, embodied in a consent decree that has been submitted for approval to the federal court in Michigan, Knight must provide Gatten with $7,839.61 to compensate him for lost wages resulting from delay in restoring him to his proper reemployment position.
In its complaint, the department alleged that Knight unreasonably delayed Gatten’s reemployment for several months after he returned from active military duty and, even after reemploying him, Knight failed to reemploy Gatten as a full-time security sergeant – the position he held with Knight before he left to serve in the military. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the military be promptly reemployed by their civilian employers in the same positions, or in comparable positions, as the positions that they would have held had they not left to serve in the military.
"The brave men and women who serve our country in uniform deserve at least to know that they are not sacrificing their jobs to do so," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "This settlement demonstrates the Civil Rights Division’s strong commitment to ensuring that service members’ rights under are upheld."
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. During 2009, the Civil Rights Division has filed 21 USERRA lawsuits on behalf of service members. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Department of Justice Web site http://www.servicemembers.gov, and on the Labor Department Web site http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.