Goodyear Tire Ordered To Pay Failing To Rehire Army Reservist <


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Goodyear Tire Ordered To Pay Failing To Rehire Army Reservist

By Daniel Baxter

March 4, 2010 - The Justice Department on Tuesday announced that it has reached a settlement, in the form of a consent decree, with the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company that, if approved by the U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, will resolve its lawsuit filed on behalf of Michael J. Ellis, a major in the U.S. Army Reserve. 

The Justice Department’s lawsuit, filed in May 2009, alleged that Goodyear violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by failing to promptly reemploy Ellis following his military service. Subject to certain limitations, USERRA requires employers to reemploy a returning service member in the position the employee would have held had his or her employment not been interrupted by military service.


Ellis was on leave from Goodyear due to a previous service-related injury and awaiting reassignment to a new position with Goodyear consistent with his physical abilities when he was called to active duty in September 2005. According to the complaint, when Ellis sought reemployment with Goodyear after his discharge in 2007, the company took no steps to identify the position Ellis would have received had he not been activated, and it failed to reemploy him for nearly a year.  

Under the terms of the consent decree, Goodyear must pay Ellis $40,000 in back wages and other damages. Goodyear also must supplement its policies at its Lawton, Okla., plant to ensure that returning service members are promptly reemployed in accordance with USERRA, and must submit to a period of monitoring by the Justice Department to ensure Goodyear’s compliance with USERRA. 

"Every day, our men and women in uniform risk their lives to protect our rights," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will work diligently to ensure that service members’ rights are protected, too." 

Subchapter II - Employment And Reemployment Rights And Limitations; Prohibitions

§ 4311. Discrimination against persons who serve in the uniformed services and acts of reprisal prohibited (a) A person who is a member of, applies to be a member of, performs, has performed, applies to perform, or has an obligation to perform service in a uniformed service shall not be denied initial employment, reemployment, retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of that membership, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation. 

§ 4312. Reemployment rights of persons who serve in the uniformed services (a) Subject to subsections (b), (c), and (d) and to section 4304, any person whose absence from a position of employment is necessitated by reason of service in the uniformed services shall be entitled to the reemployment rights and benefits and other employment benefits of this chapter if— 

(1) The person (or an appropriate officer of the uniformed service in which such service is performed) has given advance written or verbal notice of such service to such person's employer;

(2) The cumulative length of the absence and of all previous absences from a position of employment with that employer by reason of service in the uniformed services does not exceed five years; and

(3) Except as provided in subsection (f), the person reports to, or submits an application for reemployment to, such employer in accordance with the provisions of subsection (e).

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