Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Army Reservist wins civil rights' complaint for termination by Home Depot
The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a civil rights' complaint with Home Depot and Army National Guard soldier Brian Bailey regarding unlawful termination. DOJ resolved Baily’s allegations that Home Depot violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) when it terminated the Army Reservist. Baily’s complaint alleged that Home Depot willfully violated USERRA by terminating his employment because of his military service obligations. The Iraq War veteran, worked at a Home Depot store in Flagstaff, AZ, as a department supervisor while he served in the California Army National Guard. One of the requirements for Army Reservists is periodic leave from their private sector employment obligations. According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Mr. Bailey was removed from his position as a department supervisor after Home Depot management officials at the Flagstaff store openly expressed their displeasure with his periodic absences from work due to his military obligations and further indicated their desire to remove him from his position because of those absences. The terms of the settlement, “embodied in a consent decree that has been submitted for approval to the federal district court, Home Depot will provide Mr. Bailey with $45,000 in monetary relief and make changes to its Military Leaves of Absence policy.” The settlement also mandates that Home Depot examine its Military Leaves of Absence policy in their Arizona stores. “This settlement demonstrates our vigilant protection of the employment opportunities of our service members, and our commitment to vigorous enforcement of the laws that protect them,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “ The department is pleased that we were able to work cooperatively with Home Depot to resolve this matter without the need for contested litigation.” The DOJ legal action against Home Depot was also meant to protect members of the military who continue to serve during wartime and provides a reminder that private-sector businesses are not exempt from the USERRA laws. “This settlement not only compensates Mr. Bailey for employment opportunities he lost because of his military service, but it will also protect other members of our nation’s armed services employed by Home Depot through the required changes to the company’s Military Leaves of Absence policy and review of that policy with managers from the district where Mr. Bailey worked,” said Ann Birmingham Scheel, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. The DOJ continues to protect the rights of service members under USERRA, which prohibits civilian employers from discriminating against members of the military, including National Guard soldiers, with respect to employment opportunities based on their past, current, or future uniformed service obligations. For more stories;http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak © Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved. For additional information about USERRA visit the Justice Department’s websites; www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and www.servicemembers.gov, as well as the Labor Department’s website at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.