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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Justice Department Files Federal Lawsuit Against Watermark Solutions to Enforce the Employment Rights of United States Air Force Reservist

The Justice Department today announced the filing of a complaint in federal district court against Watermark Solutions (Watermark), a private corporation located in Phoenix, Arizona. The complaint alleges that Watermark violated the employment rights of Staff Sergeant Larry Green (SSG Green), a reservist in the United States Air Force, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

According to the complaint, filed in United States District Court for the District of Arizona, SSG Green’s requirement to perform service in the Air Force Reserves was a motivating factor in Watermark’s decision to terminate his employment. At the time that SSG Green was hired by Watermark in July 2015, he informed Watermark of his military training obligations as an Air Force Reservist. Prior to his employment with Watermark, SSG Green served his country for six years on active duty and has been a member of the United States Air Force Reserves since 2015.  Despite the fact SSG Green submitted notice of his Reserve training duties when he was hired, the complaint alleges that in June 2016, Watermark terminated SSG Green’s employment within days of being notified of the dates of his pending military training obligations.   

“Our country depends on the men and women who faithfully carry out their military obligations and make personal sacrifices in order to protect our freedoms as Americans,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that the rights of service members, including maintaining their jobs, will be protected when they return to civilian employment from military service or training.”

The lawsuit filed by the United States seeks damages equal to the amount of SSG Green’s lost wages and benefits, as well as liquidated damages resulting from Watermark’s willful failure to comply with USERRA. The lawsuit also seeks SSG Green’s reemployment with the company.

SSG Green initially filed a complaint with the United States Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS). The Department of Labor investigated the complaint and attempted to reach resolution between the parties. After resolution failed, VETS referred the complaint to the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. 

The Justice Department gives high priority to the enforcement of servicemembers’ rights under USERRA.  Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Departments 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.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-1661
Updated December 18, 2018