The city of Truman, Minnesota agreed to reinstate Michael Schutz, a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, to his position as a police officer to settle a Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) lawsuit filed against the city on September 30, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The DOJ alleged that Truman violated Schutz’s employment rights under USERRA when it failed to reemploy him when he returned from active military duty in Kuwait. Upon his return from Kuwait, Schutz expected to get his full-time job back but was instead offered part-time hours. When Schutz filed a USERRA complaint, the city retaliated against him and placed him on administrative leave for approximately three weeks. The city then issued a notice of intent to terminate Schutz’s employment.
In addition to reinstating Schutz, Truman must pay him $11,211.29 in lost wages, deposit the value of any lost non-wage income into his Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) account, and provide him with an additional forty hours of paid vacation. The city must also pay his legal fees, remove references of his proposed termination from his personnel files, and provide mandatory one hour training regarding USERRA rights to all of its employees.
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez said, “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that an individual who has served our country in uniform is not deprived of his or her civilian career opportunities due to that service.”
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive veterans rights’ practice and has published a guide for protecting employees covered by USERRA entitled “Litigating Claims Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act”.