The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly III announced today the filing of a lawsuit alleging that Regal Contractors LLC, Regal Builders LLC and Noble Pond Homes willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by terminating U.S. Air Force Reserve Member Lon Fluman following his return from required military training with his reserve unit.
Fluman is a Senior Airman with the U.S. Air Force Reserve serving with the 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base. According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, Fluman was scheduled for reserve military duty to begin on Sept. 3, 2012 but was rescheduled on short notice to start one day later. Subsequently, Fluman served weekend reserve duty in early December of 2012. Following his second duty, the defendants terminated Fluman from his position as a maintenance technician. Although Fluman satisfied USERRA’s notification requirements before departing for his military leaves, according to the complaint, the defendants terminated Fluman anyway, claiming the notice provided was not sufficient.
USERRA explicitly protects the rights of members of the uniformed services to retain their employment following absences due to military service obligations. “Congress enacted USERRA to protect our men and women in uniform from experiencing this kind of injustice,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws that protect the employment rights of our servicemembers.”
“Members of the Air Force Reserve sacrifice time away from their jobs to serve their country,” said U.S. Attorney Oberly. “USERRA ensures that they are not discriminated against and that their employment rights are protected.”
This case stems from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor following an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The case is being handled by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware, who work collaboratively with the Department of Labor to protect the jobs and benefits of National Guard and Reserve servicemembers upon their return to civilian life.
Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department website: w ww.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.