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United We Stand: A Time Barred Tenet?

United We Stand: A time barred tenet?

Today marks the 17 year anniversary of September 11 th. New Yorkers will remember the date as the moment in time our skyline was replaced by halos of smoke, and our streets by remnants of two towers that once marked the center of the City's financial district. For many more, the date also represents a landmark in US Foreign policy and the impetus for a war on terrorism that endures thirteen years after the terrorist attack on American soil and the US invasion of Afghanistan. For still many more, the date symbolizes the day a family member or friend was called to active duty in the armed services for months on end, necessitating prolonged absences from friends, family, and civilian life.

While the world's focus remains in the Middle East, it is perhaps this last prong that has created the greatest need for employment discrimination attorneys and civil litigators to take note. The United States made a promise to remain "unified" in its response to terrorism. For too many reservists and veterans, this promise has become obscured with the passage of time and economic overtures. Employment benefits are diminished and jobs lost due to prolonged periods of deployment; yet more egregious remains the recent revelations brought to light by VA whistleblowers concerning the overtly deficient care provided to veterans and many VA facilities.

To counter-act the deleterious effect mobilization has historically had on civilian employment, congress created a series of veterans' benefits statutes, the most recent of which was the Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). 38 USC §§ 4301-4333. Amended most recently in October 2001, USERRA, protects veterans against employment discrimination on account of their military service. The statute is remedial in nature and therefore interpreted liberally, as intended by congress, and recently restated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Court, to protect interested members of the armed forces. Pucilowski v. Department of Justice, 498 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 2007).

USERRA prohibits employers from denying employees serving on active duty "any benefit of employment" as a result of their military service. 38 U.S.C. § 4311(a). Explicitly, an employer must not deny initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any other benefit of employment to an individual on the basis of his or her membership, application for membership, performance of service, application of service, or obligation for service in the uniformed services. 38 USC §§ 4301-4333. Attorney's fees may also be provided for successful claims brought pursuant to USERRA in order to offset the cost of bringing an employment discrimination complaint. 38 USC § 4323(h).

USERRA is not governed by a statute of limitations, 38 USC § 4323(i); neither should our pledge to support the hundreds of thousands of reservists that have been deployed and re-deployed for more than a decade. Solomon Law Firm, PLLC is a strong proponent and recognized leader in the field of federal employment discrimination, our practice was founded on the very premise that "United We Stand" is a time-honored tenet that demands exceptional legal representation. Please contact the office if you or a loved one was discriminated against as a result of military service.