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Friday, November 14, 2008
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Justice Department Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Employment Rights of North Carolina Army Reservist

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit on behalf of James Myles, an Army Reservist, against the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and against North Carolina Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell, in his official capacity, alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Raleigh, N.C., alleges that the defendants violated USERRA by taking into consideration Myles’s military service obligations in declining to reappoint Myles to a second term as a magistrate.

"During this time of war, it is imperative that soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are not being penalized in their civilian careers because of their service in uniform," said Grace Chung Becker, 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."

USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect servicemembers from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Among other things, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against service members because of their military service obligations.

The Department of Justice filed suit after receiving Myles’s complaint from the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor, upon completion of its investigation and unsuccessful settlement efforts.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division places a high priority on the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. In fiscal year 2008, the Employment Section filed a record high number of USERRA suits. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Department of Justice Web site at the following link, and on the Department of Labor Web site at the following link