Big Box, Small Heart: Wal-Mart Sued By U..S. Over Termination of Veteran

sealdoj.gifWith 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.

8 thoughts on “Big Box, Small Heart: Wal-Mart Sued By U..S. Over Termination of Veteran”

  1. Jill:

    Apparently Thornton has filed his own suit or maybe he’s ex rel, but here’s the info from the Court:

    Plaintiff: Sean K. Thornton
    Defendant: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

    Case Number: 6:2008cv00471
    Filed: March 31, 2008

    Court: Florida Middle District Court
    Office: Orlando Office [ Court Info ]
    County: Volusia
    Presiding Judge: Senior Judge G. Kendall Sharp
    Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Gregory J. Kelly

    Nature of Suit: Civil Rights – Other Civil Rights
    Cause: 38:4301 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA)
    Jurisdiction: Federal Question
    Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

  2. I have never shopped, or even entered a Wal-Mart store and I doubt that I ever will. They have been a destructive force to small business; retailing in general; the cohesiveness of small towns; fair treatment of labor; and loss of American manufacturing. Their arrogance in vicious business dealings is legendary.

    While I would vote for any Democrat against McCain, I find it hard to forgive the clinton’s for their support of this company. After Bill’s term came to an end I bought his autobiography, at a retail price, as a gesture of support for the silly impeachment. When I reached the chapter he wrote, generally in support of Wal-Mart and Tyson Chicken, I stopped reading the book in disgust. I usually always finish a book that I’ve started, but his praise of this corporate cancer made me doubt his sincerity.

  3. Did Hillary ever resign from the Board of Directors of Walmart? How about those other Democrat powerhouses on the Board? When will they resign?

  4. It seems he wanted his cashier’s job and they did not have it readily available so he was doing other work with Walmart.

  5. With the juice that Wal-Mart et al has with Republicans and this administration, Wal-Mart legal has no qualms about this hiring issue. The majority of media sources in this country will nary cover this story and it will be just another blip. Since our Justice Department is fully politicized, or so it would appear, a bit of noise is warranted but keep an eye on the eventual outcome and who will follow up on the outcome anyway? The “fourth estate”, right.

    Life will remain truly a paradise in Bentonville.

  6. Jill:

    I agree. By the time that the DOJ sues you, you have generally be given numerous times to correct the problem. It is a blunder of huge Wal-Mart proportions.

  7. I think the not so smart Mart will finally hit the wall on this one. This should alienate everyone no matter what their political stripes. They’re also going up against another party with deep pockets. I bet they back down on this.

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