Justice Department sues judge, courts for USERRA violations

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit accusing the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and N.C. Superior Court Judge Jerry Braswell of violating former Magistrate James Myles’ rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Braswell appointed Myles as 8th Judicial District Magistrate in 2005. In November 2006, Braswell sent Myles a letter noting that Myles had taken 188 days off from work between January and September of that year, including 54 days for service in the Army Reserve. Braswell prohibited Myles from taking nonemergency leave until after April 2007.

In the spring of 2007, Braswell did not reappoint Myles to a second term as magistrate, citing his attendance record. Myles filed a USERRA complaint. In his response, Braswell argued that an employee “has a right to take vacation, sick leave or attend to military duties but when it is taken is a matter of concern for the employer and not a unilateral decision made by the employee.”

The Department of Justice’s lawsuit seeks reappointment and lost pay for Myles.