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David C. Henderson and Matthew P. Ritchie published “Beyond yellow ribbons: Employers must stay closely tied to USERRA compliance

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October 2009 | Article
David C. Henderson and Matthew P. Ritchie, members of the firm's Labor, Employment and Benefits practice, published “Beyond yellow ribbons: Employers must stay closely tied to USERRA compliance” in the October 2009 issue of Employee Benefit News.

Their article discusses the recent increase in enforcement efforts by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) against employers believed to have discriminated against armed forces members returning from active duty and looking to reenter the civilian workforce.

The DOJ enforcement actions are based on the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). This statute prohibits discrimination against service members and generally entitles them to return to civilian employment at the same level of pay, benefits, and status they would have attained if continuously employed.

David and Matthew note that the consequences of a USERRA lawsuit can vary.  Employers can be subjected to a variety of remedial measures, including being compelled to pay lost wages and benefits; reinstate, promote, reassign and/or provide a reasonable accommodation to an injury; pay multiple damages if the violation was willful; and pay the plaintiff’s litigation costs and attorneys fees.
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