Doyle Dennis LLP proudly represents military personnel and serviceman who have been discriminated against because of their military service or leave.
Who is covered by USERRA?
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), 38 U.S.C. §§ 4301-4333, protects current, past, and future members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Space Force, Army and Air National Guards, Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service, Intermittent disaster response appointees of the National Disaster Medical System, and any other category of persons designated by the President in time of war or national emergency.
What is protected?
USERRA provides job-protection and job-return for military leave. In particular, both public and private sector employers must grant leaves of absence for workers who are required to meet their obligation during service in the unfired services. This protection applies broadly to all employers, regardless of size. USERRA grants reemployment and benefits to these employees who were on leave during their service, including for active duty; active duty for training; initial active duty for training; inactive duty training; full-time National Guard duty; and absence from work for an examination to determine an individual’s fitness for any of the above types of duty.
Under USERRA, an employee seeking leave, needs to give oral or written notice of the military responsibility prior to the leave. However, if the military necessity” prevents providing notice or it is “otherwise impossible or unreasonable,” then the employee is not obligated to provide advances notice. Upon return from leave, employers must re-employ service members at the same seniority level, or, if not possible, at a similar position.
What damages are available?
In addition, USERRA also prohibits state, federal, or private employer from discriminating based an employee’s military affiliation or membership. USERRA also prohibits employers from retaliating because an employee exercised rights under USERRA. A service member who has been retaliated or mistreated in violation of USERRA can file a lawsuit in federal court and seek reinstatement, lost wages, attorney’s fees, benefits, and potentially, payment of double damages if the employer acted willfully.
Do I need a lawyer?
USERRA involves complicated legal issues that likely will require legal assistance. Doyle Dennis LLP has significant experience and results representing military personnel and employees/workers, including an $85 million verdict for personal injuries of 12-members of the Oregon national guard in Bixby v. KBR Inc. (reversed on appeal based on jurisdictional arguments), $1.7 million verdict for a wrongfully terminated employee in Ball v. Alleyton Resource Company, a $1.9 million verdict for a wrongfully terminated North Carolina state trooper in Reginald Newberne v. Dept. of Public Safety, and a $6.5 million verdict for a defamed cardiovascular surgeon in Gomez v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System. If you have been treated unlawfully and are a member of the armed forces or protected by USERRA, contact us today for a free consultation.