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Can USERRA form the basis of a harassment suit?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A New York federal trial court has sidestepped the question of whether harassment based on military service is illegal under USERRA.

Recent case: Over the course of more than a decade, Michael Mock served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and also worked as a police officer. A supervisor criticized Mock for playing “war games,” called his wife asking about his service and asked the Air Force to provide advance notice before Mock’s deployments.

After Mock retired, he sued, alleging he had worked in a hostile environment based on his military service.

The court disallowed Mock’s claim, concluding that the comments weren’t severe enough to create a hostile work environment. It refused to rule on whether USERRA would allow such a lawsuit in another, more hostile case. (Mock v. City of Rome, et al., No. 6:10-CV-919, ND NY, 2012)

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