With the various legal controversies involving Wal-Mart, one would think that its legal department would seek to avoid another lawsuit. Yet, Wal-Mart’s hard-nosed approach to legal disputes appears to be again getting the store into hot water — this time with the U.S. government. Wal-Mart reportedly refused to re-hire Sean Thornton, a former airman with the United States Air Force, after he returned from deployment, leading to a lawsuit by the Justice Department in Orlando Florida.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, employers are supposed to reinstate such veterans after they return. Accordingly to the Justice Department, Wal-Mart told him that he could find employment elsewhere. The act states:
§ 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.
(b) An employer may not discriminate in employment against or take any adverse employment action against any person because such person (1) has taken an action to enforce a protection afforded any person under this chapter, (2) has testified or otherwise made a statement in or in connection with any proceeding under this chapter, (3) has assisted or otherwise participated in an investigation under this chapter, or (4) has exercised a right provided for in this chapter. The prohibition in this subsection shall apply with respect to a person regardless of whether that person has performed service in the uniformed services.
Wal-Mart is currently under criticism for suing to take over two hundred thousand dollars from a brain-damaged former employee, here, and losing a lawsuit to crack down on an Internet critic, here. Who is exactly making these moronic legal judgments? I would hope that it is the client since attorneys should possess a modicum of sense.
For the press release from the Justice Department, click here.
For the full story, click here.