Justice Department Files Lawsuit on Behalf of Indiana Guardsman
Business violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994
INDIANAPOLIS (STL.News) Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Childress and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan announced today, a complaint was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Captain Christopher Robbins of the Indiana Army National Guard against DSG Indiana, a limited liability corporation, doing business as Ashley Home Store (“Ashley Furniture”), alleging that Ashley Furniture violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) when it failed to promptly offer Robbins re-employment after his return from active duty military service.
“The Department of Justice expects employers to fully comply with their reemployment obligations under the law,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Childress. “Where employers fall short in doing so, we will aggressively vindicate the reemployment rights of servicemembers.”
According to the Justice Department’s complaint, Captain Robbins has been a member of the Indiana Army National Guard since 2006. In 2014, Robbins began working as a salesman at an Ashley Furniture Store in Greenwood, Indiana. During the summer of 2017, Robbins provided notice to Ashley Furniture that his military service obligations with the National Guard required him to attend mandatory, out-of-state military training exercises with his unit. The training was scheduled for one month’s duration. The complaint alleges that at the completion of his training obligation, Robbins promptly sought re-employment as a salesman with Ashley Furniture and agreed with the company’s representatives on a return to work date. According to the allegations in the complaint, Ashley Furniture, however, did not allow Robbins to return to work on the agreed upon date. Instead, two days before the agreed upon return date, Robbins was fired by Ashley Furniture.
“Federal law protects the right of servicemembers like Captain Robbins to resume their jobs when they return home,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “It guarantees that members of the armed forces are not forced to sacrifice their continued employment on top of the sacrifices they have already made in order to fulfill their military obligations.”
This lawsuit stems from a referral to the United States Department of Justice from the United States Department of Labor, after an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.
This case is being handled by Trial Attorney Christopher Woolley in the Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Preston in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.