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Military Reemployment Lawsuits Filed

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Akron, OHMilitary reemployment lawsuits have been filed on behalf of employees who left their employment for active service but were either demoted or fired while they were away. These military reserve lawsuits allege the employers have violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in their treatment of members of the uniformed services.

One such lawsuit, as reported by the Akron Beacon Journal (01/26/12), was filed in Ohio on behalf of Kevin McGee, who alleges that the Summit County Developmental Disabilities organization violated USERRA by demoting him and discriminating against him because of his service in the military. According to the lawsuit, McKee was deployed on January 9, 2012, for three months. He was allegedly demoted from his position and given only a one-year contract when other employees were given two-year contracts.

Furthermore, McGee alleged he was not paid while he was deployed even though that payment was required in his contract. That matter has reportedly been resolved.

Summit County Development Disabilities issued a statement that it will vigorously defend the action, noting that its mission is to prevent discrimination.

Members of the military are protected under USERRA from having their jobs taken away while they are on active or inactive duty. Specifically, USERRA prohibits employers from firing, demoting or delaying the rehiring of employees who are called to duty unless the employer's circumstances have changed drastically. Likewise, employers are responsible for maintaining benefits and health plans while the employee is away on service. Among those whose rights are protected by USERRA are people who served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other uniformed services.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act prohibits any retaliation against workers who attempt to enforce their rights or assist another person in enforcing their USERRA rights. Finally, it requires employees to be given the same seniority and job as though that person had not left the employment for duty. This means that the seniority continues to accrue while the employee is away on duty.

To be protected under USERRA, an employee must provide advance notice of duty, unless it is impossible or unreasonable to do so. The employee must also seek reemployment in a reasonable time after returning from service—the amount of time varies based on how long the employee was away and whether or not the employee was injured on active duty.



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