Justice Department Settles with Home Depot to Enforce the Employment Rights of an Army National Guard Soldier
The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., to resolve allegations that the company violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) when it terminated the employment of Army National Guard soldier Brian Bailey.
The department’s complaint alleged that Home Depot willfully violated USERRA by terminating Mr. Bailey’s employment because of his military service obligations. Mr. Bailey, an Iraq War veteran, worked at a Home Depot store in Flagstaff, Ariz., as a department supervisor while at the same time serving in the California Army National Guard. Throughout his employment with Home Depot, Mr. Bailey took periodic leave from work to fulfill his military obligations with the National Guard. According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Mr. Bailey was removed from his position as a department supervisor after Home Depot management officials at the Flagstaff store openly expressed their displeasure with his periodic absences from work due to his military obligations and further indicated their desire to remove him from his position because of those absences.
Under the terms of the settlement, embodied in a consent decree that has been submitted for approval to the federal district court, Home Depot will provide Mr. Bailey with $45,000 in monetary relief and make changes to its Military Leaves of Absence policy. The settlement further mandates that Home Depot review its Military Leaves of Absence policy with managers from the district where Mr. Bailey worked.
“This settlement demonstrates our vigilant protection of the employment opportunities of our service members, and our commitment to vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect them,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “ The department is pleased that we were able to work cooperatively with Home Depot to resolve this matter without the need for contested litigation.”
“This settlement not only compensates Mr. Bailey for employment opportunities he lost because of his military service, but it will also protect other members of our nation’s armed services employed by Home Depot through the required changes to the company’s Military Leaves of Absence policy and review of that policy with managers from the district where Mr. Bailey worked,” said Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
This case was handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.
Civil rights enforcement is a priority of the Department of Justice. The rights of our service members are protected under USERRA, which prohibits civilian employers from discriminating against members of the military, including National Guard soldiers, with respect to employment opportunities based on their past, current, or future uniformed service obligations. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s websites, www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and www.servicemembers.gov , as well as the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm .