Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the City of Marion, Ala., to Defend Employment Rights of Alabama National Guard

2008-07-25 11:35:00

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against the City of Marion, Ala., to Defend Employment Rights of Alabama National Guard

    WASHINGTON, July 25 /EMWNews/ -- The Department of

Justice today filed a lawsuit on behalf of Cynthia Y. Davis, a member of

the Alabama National Guard, against the city of Marion, Ala., alleging

violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act

of 1994 (USERRA).



    The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Selma, Ala., alleges

that Marion violated USERRA by not reinstating Ms. Davis in her civilian

employment position as a dispatcher at the Marion Police Department after

she returned from basic training. The complaint also alleges that Marion's

violation was willful, and seeks liquidated damages, because Marion's

officials were aware of USERRA's reemployment requirements and still

refused to reemploy Ms. Davis. 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 that they would have held had they not left to serve in the

military.



    "No person should lose her civilian job for choosing to serve in the

military," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for

the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division of the Department of

Justice remains committed to fully protecting the employment rights of

servicemembers."



    The Justice Department's lawsuit was filed after the Veterans'

Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor referred a

complaint filed by Ms. Davis under USERRA to the Justice Department upon

completion of its investigation and unsuccessful settlement efforts. USERRA

provides that the Department of Justice may appear on behalf of, and act as

attorney for, persons whose complaints are referred to the Department of

Justice by the Department of Labor.



    The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice assumed

responsibility for the enforcement of USERRA with respect to state and

local governments and private employers in 2004. Since that time, the

Division has filed 23 USERRA suits on behalf of servicemembers, including

the first-ever federal class action lawsuit under USERRA, Woodall v.

American Airlines.



    Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Department of

Justice Web site at http://www.servicemembers.gov/ and on the Department of

Labor Web site at http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.





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