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May 05, 2005
Justice Dept. Says City Discriminated Against Guard Member

The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit on behalf of a member of the Alabama National Guard, alleging the the city of Marion, Alabama, violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

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The complaint alleges that Marion violated USERRA by not reinstating a female employee in her civilian employment position as a dispatcher at the Marion Police Department after she returned from basic training.

The complaint also alleges that Marion 's violation was willful, and seeks liquidated damages, because Marion 's officials were aware of USERRA's reemployment requirements and still refused to reemploy the employee, prosecutors allege.

Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires that individuals who leave their jobs to serve in the U.S. military be timely reemployed by their civilian employers in the same position that they would have held had they not left to serve in the military.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice assumed responsibility for the enforcement of USERRA with respect to state and local governments and private employers in 2004. Since that time, the Division has filed 23 USERRA suits on behalf of service members, including the first-ever federal class action lawsuit under USERRA, Woodall v. American Airlines.

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