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A staffing agency violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 when it fired an employee who had missed a day’s work because of a back reinjury that occurred while he was on reserve duty, says a federal appeals court, in reversing a lower court ruling.
Jose Luis Hernandez, who worked for North Richland Hills, Texas-based Results Staffing Inc. and was an officer in the U.S. Army Reserves, spent the weekend undergoing military service training in July 2013, according to Monday’s ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans in Jose Luis Hernandez v. Results Staffing Inc.
On Sunday of that weekend, he went to a military medical staff member to report an aggravation of a pre-existing back injury caused by the drill weekend’s activities, according to the ruling.
After he went home, he took prescribed pain medication, then slept through his alarm, missing a meeting at work. He went to a hospital emergency room later that day for treatment. Results Staffing terminated him the next day.
Mr. Hernandez filed suit, charging violation of USERRA. The U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, Texas dismissed Mr. Hernandez’s case, on the basis he did not report for work that Monday as required.
A unanimous three-judge panel reinstated Mr. Hernandez’s lawsuit.
“Hernandez qualified for reemployment under the plain language of (USERRA’s) convalescence provision when he aggravated a pre-existing back injury during military service and when he reported to work” on Tuesday, at the end of his period of convalescence, said the ruling in reversing the District Court’s ruling and remanding the case for further proceedings.
A Pennsylvania masonry company has agreed to pay $135,000 to a terminated plant manager who reported air quality and other safety and health hazards.