Justice Department Files Federal Lawsuit Against Bridges Consulting Inc. of Annapolis Junction, Maryland, for Violating the Employment Rights of Coast Guard Reservist
The Justice Department recently announced the filing of a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Bridges Consulting, Inc. (Bridges), a government contractor based in Annapolis Junction, Maryland. The complaint alleges that Bridges violated the employment rights of Lieutenant Commander Bobby L. Lindsay (Lindsay), a reservist in the United States Coast Guard, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
According to the complaint, filed by the United States on Lindsay’s behalf, Bridges violated Lt. Commander Lindsay’s USERRA rights under 38 U.S.C. §§ 4311, 4312 & 4313 by failing to promptly reemploy him upon his return from deployment, by terminating his employment, and by retaliating against him because he complained when funds were withdrawn from his Bridges retirement account.
Lt. Commander Lindsay, who has served more than 30 years in the Armed Forces, was a senior manager for Bridges, where he had worked since 2012. Lindsay deployed for a scheduled three-month tour of duty with the Coast Guard in June 2014; in July 2014, Lindsay found out that Bridges’ contributions to his retirement account had been abruptly withdrawn. After receiving no explanation from the company, Lindsay complained to federal entities, which notified Bridges of his complaint. In September 2014, Lindsay indicated to Bridges that he expected to return to work at the conclusion of his deployment. In turn, Bridges informed Lindsay that he was no longer an employee and that security would be called if he returned to work. Lindsay has since applied to multiple positions at Bridges, but has not been re-hired.
“This lawsuit is another example of the Department of Justice’s unwavering commitment to protecting the employment rights of the members of our armed forces,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The men and women of our reserve forces deserve the peace of mind that their civilian employment will be there when they return from serving our country.”
The lawsuit filed by the United States seeks damages equal to the amount of Lindsay’s lost wages and benefits, as well as liquidated damages resulting from Bridges’ willful failure to comply with USERRA.
Congress enacted USERRA to reduce employment disadvantages faced by non-career service members; to provide prompt reemployment for returning service members; to minimize disruption to the lives of those performing military service, their employers and others; and to prohibit discrimination and retaliation against those who serve in the uniformed services.
This case stems from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) following an investigation by DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The litigation is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.