Louisiana residents should be interested to know that a veteran of the armed forces was able to successfully negotiate a settlement with his employer for not granting him his right to employment upon his return from service. The man in this case was a U.S. Air Force Reserve Member who served until 2011.
According to U.S. District Court records, the man filed a lawsuit alleging that his former employer, Penske Truck Leasing Co. violated his civil rights by denying him employment after he was honorably discharged from the Air Force.
Specifically, he accused Penske Truck Leasing Co. of violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). USERRA was passed by Congress in order to protect the rights of members of the uniformed services so that they may retain their civilian jobs after long absences that are due to required military service duties. It explicitly requires employers to accommodate any service members who are injured in the call of duty upon their return.
In this case, the man argued that his USERRA rights were violated because he was injured prior to his discharge from the military; even though he informed his employer that he was able to return to work albeit with some medical limitations, his employer refused to rehire him. Instead, the employer decided to place him on short-term leave.
Several months later, the man informed his employer that he would need more time to recover from his injuries. Instead of granting him the time he requested, Penske Truck Leasing Co. waited for a couple of months before terminating his employment. According to the settlement, Penske Co. has agreed to pay man lost wages in the total sum of $85,000.
The case came about following a referral from the U.S. Department of Labor and was handled by the Employment Litigation section of the Civil Rights Division. For anyone who believes that his or her civil rights are being violated by their employer, he or she may want to consider consulting with an employment law firm to understand his or her
Source: eNews Park Forest, “Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Penske Leasing Co. to Enforce Employment Rights to Air Force Reserve Member,” May 5, 2014