Justice Department Reaches Settlement Agreement with El Paso Business Over Allegations of Violating the Employment Rights of a Texas Army National Guard Member
The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a Settlement Agreement with Superior Asphalt Enterprises, Inc., DBA Frontier Roofing Supply (“Frontier”), a business with its principal location in El Paso, Texas. The Settlement Agreement resolves allegations that Frontier violated the employment rights of Texas Army National Guard Member Alejandro S. Booth (“Booth”) under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). USERRA safeguards the rights of uniformed servicemembers to retain their civilian employment following absences due to military service obligations. USERRA also protects servicemembers from discrimination on the basis of their military obligations. Booth is currently a Sergeant with the Texas Army National Guard where he has served since 2005.
According to the complaint Booth filed with the Department of Labor, Frontier fired Booth from his position as a Purchasing/Inventory Clerk due to his military service and subsequently denied Booth’s request for reemployment following his active military duty in August of 2015. Booth’s employment was terminated while he was attending his annual training requirements for the Texas Army National Guard. When Booth requested to return to work upon completion of his training, his request was denied based on his previous absence related to his military service. In exchange for a release of his claims under USERRA, Frontier has agreed to provide Mr. Booth with relief to include backpay, lost benefits and liquidated damages
“The United States has a solemn obligation to ensure that those selfless Americans who serve in the nation’s Armed Forces enjoy every opportunity to advance their civilian careers,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio. “The Department of Justice will be unwavering in protecting the rights of our nation’s service members and we will continue to hold accountable employers who violate those rights.”
“Mr. Booth was called away from his job in order to serve the country in the National Guard,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Our nation’s security is dependent on the brave men and women of our National Guard, and the Department of Justice is here to ensure that all service members can complete their military obligations without fear that by doing so, they will lose their civilian jobs.”
“Members of our National Guard make many sacrifices, including spending months or years away from their jobs and families,” said U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., of the Western District of Texas. “When our service members are deployed in the service of our country, they are entitled to retain their civilian employment and to the protections of federal law that prevent them from being subject to discrimination based upon their military obligations. We sought this Settlement Agreement, on behalf of Sergeant Booth, a member of the Texas Army National Guard, to ensure that he does not lose his rights while he was protecting ours.”
Booth initially filed a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), which investigated this matter and attempted to reach a resolution between the parties. After resolution efforts failed, VETS referred the complaint to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section. This Settlement Agreement, which is not an admission of liability by Frontier, followed as a collaborative initiative between the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.
The Department of Justice gives high priority to the enforcement of servicemembers’ 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.