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.
- Instead of firing after FMLA and disability leave, consider reasonable accommodations
- Know the documentation rules and timetables for FMLA certification requests
- Serial FMLA requests? Respond to every one
- Remind bosses: Employees approved for intermittent FMLA leave are entitled to take it
- Good documentation wins cases--even sensitive ones