WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement on behalf of U.S. Army reservist Miguel Orozco Garduño (Orozco) in its lawsuit against Titan Laboratories Inc., and its owner Harvey Berger. The lawsuit alleges that Titan and Berger willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by discriminating against and failing to reemploy Orozco after he returned from military leave. The settlement, embodied in a consent decree that the parties have submitted to the court for approval, calls for Titan and Berger to pay Orozco $21,000 in back pay.
The Justice Department’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that while Orozco was away on military leave, Titan and Berger terminated Orozco’s employment because of his military obligations and hired as a permanent replacement someone who did not have such obligations. The complaint also alleges that when Orozco completed his honorable military service and requested reemployment, Titan and Berger refused to reemploy him because he had been replaced.
“The men and women who serve in the military must be able to do so without fear that they will lose their civilian jobs as a result of their service. This case demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to vigorously enforcing federal laws that protect the employment rights of our servicemembers,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.
“We applaud the Justice Department not only for helping Mr. Orozco bring his case to a successful conclusion, but also for its outstanding efforts on behalf of our country’s Service Members,” said Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training.
The case stems from a referral by the Department of Labor following an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.
Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department website: www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp , as well as on the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm .