OSC Settles Second Largest USERRA Lawsuit in Favor of Terminated National Guardsman
Michael Hanke, a Wisconsin National Guardsman fired by a U.S. Army contractor in 2010 when he returned from active duty, will receive the second largest USERRA settlement in U.S. history. Although the exact amount cannot be disclosed due to the terms of the settlement agreement, it is reported to be several years’ worth of salary.
According to Hanke’s lawsuit, Com Tek, a defense contractor, fired him in 2010 when he returned home from active duty. Hanke filed a complaint with the Department of Labor (DOL) against ComTek and the U.S. Army Cadet Command. When the DOL could not resolve his complaint, he was referred to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC).
OSC investigated Hanke’s complaint and found that the Army violated USERRA due to a retroactive law enacted in late 2010 which in-sourced Hanke’s position with ComTex. Although the Department of Defense continues to deny any wrongdoing, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said:
I applaud the Army Cadet Command for reaching a fair and equitable settlement on Mr. Hanke’s behalf . . . OSC will continue to press for the employment and reemployment rights of our veterans and National Guard and Reserve members, and for all federal agencies to live up to their obligation to be a model employer under USERRA.
The Employment Law Group® law firm has an extensive veterans rights’ practice and has published a guide for protecting employees covered by USERRA entitled “Litigating Claims Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.”