United States Attorney David Capp
Northern District of Indiana
M01-204 S. Main Street
South Bend, Indiana 46601
Hammond South Bend Fort
Hammond South Bend Fort Wayne
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Mary Hatton
www.usdoj.gov/usao/inn/ FAX (219) 852-2770
U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE FILES COMPLAINT AGAINST CITY OF PLYMOUTH INDIANA TO DEFEND EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS OF AIR FORCE RESERVIST
SOUTH BEND - United States Attorney David Capp announced today the filing of a complaint against the City of Plymouth, Indiana to defend the employment rights of Air Force reservist Robert D. DeLee under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
Subject to certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to promptly reemploy returning service members to the position they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service, and to provide them with all benefits of employment to which the employee would have been entitled if he had not been called up to active duty.
The complaint in this case, which was filed in the South Bend Division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, alleges that Plymouth violated Mr. DeLee’s rights under USERRA by refusing to pay him longevity pay, a seniority-based benefit of employment, after he returned from an eight-month period of active duty for the United States Air Force Reserve. DeLee has served in the Air Force Reserve since 1997 and has worked for Plymouth as a Patrolman in the Police Department since 1999. DeLee was mobilized for active duty with the Air Force between September 2010 and May 2011. After returning from active duty, Plymouth re-employed DeLee in his former position in the Police Department but refused to pay him the longevity pay that he would have received if he had not been called up to active duty.
“No servicemember should ever lose their seniority-based benefits provided by civilian employment because they took time out to protect our country,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No employer, whether a city or a private company, can deprive a servicemember of rights that USERRA affords through implementation of its own policy or local ordinances.”
“The United States Attorney’s Office has a complete and unwavering commitment to protecting the employment rights of military reservists when they return from active duty,” said United States Attorney David Capp.
This suit was filed as the result of an investigation by Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor. Assistant United States Attorney Wayne T. Ault will be the United States’ lead counsel in this civil litigation.
The Justice Department’s 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’s websites at www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and www.servicemembers.gov, as well as on the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.