The Department today filed a lawsuit against the state of Nevada and its Office of the State Controller alleging it violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by refusing to promptly reemploy Arthur Ingram when he returned from active military duty and then by firing him after he filed a USERRA complaint. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nev.
Enacted by Congress in 1994, USERRA requires employers to promptly reemploy returning service members in the position they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service or in a position of like status, seniority and pay. USERRA also prohibits employers from retaliating against service members for exercising their USERRA rights.
Ingram, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, was Nevada’s chief deputy controller when he was called to active duty in June 2003. After he was honorably discharged in April 2008, Ingram sought reemployment with the state of Nevada. The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that the state initially offered Ingram a job but at considerably less pay and status and then withdrew that offer and backdated Ingram’s termination after he filed a USERRA complaint.
"The Civil Rights Division is strongly committed to protecting the employment rights of the men and women who serve our country in uniform," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The law is clear – unnecessary delays and reprisal will not be tolerated."
The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Ingram’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Justice Department for litigation.
The Department’s Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. This is the 15th USERRA lawsuit the Civil Rights Division has filed in 2009 on behalf of service members. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web sites http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and http://www.servicemembers.gov as well as on the Labor Department’s Web site at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.