When Sean Thornton, of Deltona, was discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 2006, he asked Wal-Mart if he could return to his former job as a cashier. The retail chain refused, and Thornton sued, alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).
Now Wal-Mart and Thornton have signed a U.S. Department of Justice consent decree that awards Thornton $12,000 in back pay, less tax withholdings and other statutory deductions. Wal-Mart has also agreed to abide by USERRA regulations that protect veterans’ employment rights.
Final note: Returning service members are entitled to reinstatement and all benefits they otherwise would have earned (such as retirement credits) after returning to civilian life. Plus, new amendments to the allow family members time off to become reacquainted.
The Department of Defense provides a comprehensive web site explaining employer obligations at http://esgr.org/userra.asp.
- Consistent policy, smart response get you off the hook for retaliation
- Don't deny leave requests based on gender stereotypes
- Make sure you can track when downsizing decision was made
- Warn bosses: No criticism for filing bias complaint
- Must you pay for employees' work boots and other personal safety gear?