Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fourth Circuit decides USERRA case

Francis v. Booz, Allen & Hamilton, __ F.2d __ (4th Cir. June 22, 2006) was a case arising under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). The Fourth Circuit was asked to consider the parameters of sections 4311(a) and 4312(a). The Court held that section 4312 only entitles a service person to immediate reemployment and does not prevent an employer from terminating any employee reemployed under this section the following day. Section 4311, however, expands the rights of covered individuals by prohibiting discrimination against such persons when their status as a member of the armed forces is a motivating factor for the alleged prohibited conduct.

In the case before the Court, the uncontroverted evidence was that Francis had repeated attendance and related performance issues that resulted in her probation and ultimately her termination. Therefore, no inference existed that the alleged discrimination was motivated by her status as a member of the armed forces. The Court further determined that the retaliation claim was without merit because the actions that resulted in Francis' probation and termination occurred prior to her protected activity.

(contributed by Sandi Wilson)

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