Recent Rulings: Returning Veterans
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a Connecticut court’s order that an employer immediately reinstate a returning veteran to his job. The employer initially failed to reinstate the employee to his job for a period of four months. When it did eventually reinstate him, it paid him commissions that failed to take into account all of the business that the employee had built up before he left for active duty. The Second Circuit affirmed the trial court’s order that the employer had to take the employee back and pay him a fixed salary for three months while he studied to be recertified to perform his job.
Serricchio v. Wachovia Securities LLC, 658 F.3d 169 (2d Cir. Sept. 13, 2011).
The United States Supreme Court recently held that an employer may be liable for violations of the rights of military personnel even if the person who made the decision that harmed the employee is not the same person that made discriminatory statements. In this case, the employee was a member of the U.S. Army reserve and had to train for one weekend per month and two or three weeks each year. His supervisors made hostile comments about his service such as stating that his training was “a bunch of smoking and joking and a waste of taxpayer money.” They also began to discipline him for no reason at all. Finally, the employer decided to fire him when it saw all of the negative information in his personnel file that had been placed there by the hostile supervisors. The Supreme Court held that it did not matter that the person who fired him was not the same person that put the negative material into his personnel file; the employee could still sue the company for discrimination on the basis of his military service.
Staub v. Proctor Hospital, 2011 WL 691244 (U.S. March 1, 2011) (Scalia, J.).