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Press Release

Local Virginia Business Settles Claim It Violated Servicemember’s Rights

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Eastern District of Virginia today announced a settlement with Lawn Doctor of Stafford-Culpepper (doing business as Beck I LLC).  The settlement resolves claims that the business and its owners violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by suspending and terminating a U.S. Army Reserve soldier following his return from active duty military service.

“Men and women who serve in the national guard and reserve should never have to worry whether their civilian jobs will be waiting when they return from active duty service to our country,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice is firmly committed to protecting our servicemembers’ employment rights are while they defend our rights.”

“Military reservists make tremendous sacrifices when they are called to active duty,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Such service should never be a detriment to their livelihood. We are committed to ensuring that these men and women are honored, not disadvantaged, for their military service, and will continue to hold employers who violate the rights of our servicemembers accountable.”

The case stems from a servicemember complaint that the U.S. Department of Labor referred to the Department of Justice following an investigation by the DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The complaint concerned a servicemember who was suspended and then terminated from his job as a landscaper because he reported for active duty service with his U.S. Army Reserve unit for the period Oct. 30, 2017, through Nov. 3, 2017. The case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre G. Brou in collaboration with Andrew Braniff, Assistant Director of the Department of Justice’s Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative.

USERRA protects the rights of members of the uniformed services to retain their civilian employment following absences due to military service obligations, and expressly requires employers to reemploy servicemembers when they return from military service.

Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department website, the Civil Rights Division website, and the DOL’s website.

The civil claims settled are allegations only. There has been no determination of civil liability.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Updated March 18, 2019

Civil Rights
Servicemembers Initiative
Press Release Number: 19-234