Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Pasco, Washington, Company to Enforce Employment Rights of National Guardsman
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has entered into a consent decree with Milne Enterprises Inc., d/b/a Milne, Nail, Power Tool & Repair, to resolve the department’s complaint alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
The department’s complaint, filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, alleges that Milne violated USERRA by failing or refusing to promptly reemploy Robert Brian Robinson upon his return from military service and by retaliating against him after he exercised his right to reemployment. Mr. Robinson enlisted in the Army National Guard in November 2006. He served on active duty for seven months beginning in March 2007, and later served an additional 15 months, with a tour in Iraq. Upon receiving his first honorable discharge in October 2007, Mr. Robinson sought reemployment, but the department’s complaint alleges Milne failed or refused to reemploy Mr. Robinson. The department’s complaint also alleges that Milne retaliated against Mr. Robinson after he sought reemployment. Under the terms of the consent decree, Milne is required to pay Robinson $13,500 in back pay and other damages and prohibits Milne from retaliating against any persons who exercise their rights under USERRA.
USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. military be timely reemployed by their civilian employers in the same position, or a comparable position, to the position that they would have held had they not left to serve in the military.
"The men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to serve our country deserve to know that they are not also risking losing their jobs when they return home," said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The department is committed to safeguarding the employment rights of our men and women in uniform."
The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Robinson’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Justice Department for litigation.
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice remains committed to the vigorous enforcement of USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web site at:www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp as well as on the Labor Department’s Web site at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/.