Evergreen International Aviation’s former general counsel, Monique DeSpain, sued Evergreen for gender discrimination and violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which provides employment protections to members of the armed forces. DeSpain is a lieutenant colonel and Judge Advocate in the Oregon Air National Guard
In her complaint, DeSpain claims that Evergreen hired her as general counsel in January 2011 and fired her in July 2011 because her “assertive work style” was incompatible with her supervisor’s expectation that DeSpain be “deferential, compromising, affirming and quiet.”
The complaint also alleges that the Human Resources Director of Evergreen objected to DeSpain’s military commitments, and that Evergreen fired DeSpain after discussing her military obligations.
Evergreen has denied the charges, called DeSpain’s work “insufficient,” and said she was “impolite, demanding and behaved inappropriately” when communicating with Evergreen Chairman, Timothy Wahlberg. DeSpain seeks economic and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees.
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”.