In Petty v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville & Davidson County, the legal issue was about whether the employee had been truthful about the reasons for his discharge from service. Another issue in the case was in regards to the postponement in re-employing a returning Army reservist, which violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), although the delay was based on the employee’s alleged dishonesty.
Explain how the reemployment provisions of the USERRA were violated in this case. The USERRA is in place to protect the rights of returning veterans when seeking re-employment upon return from service (Judicial Review, 2008). The reemployment provisions of the USERRA were violated in this case because Metro delayed re-hiring Petty by putting him through the return-to-work process. The department was also in violation because he was not given the position to which he was qualified.
Explain why the court concludes that Petty has a claim for discrimination under USERRA. The court concludes that Petty has a claim for discrimination under USERRA because he had satisfied the stipulations for reinstatement—his petition for re-employment was timely, and his discharge was “honorable”. However, Metro did not conform with the act’s requirement to quickly reinstate Petty to his former position.
When Metro raised Petty’s alleged dishonesty as a defense, the appeals court responded by reminding Metro that USERRA allows an employer to terminate a former serviceman for “cause” after re-employment, but does not allow an employer to use that same “cause” as an excuse not to reinstate the individual at all. In compliance with Metro’s return-to-work process, Petty signed an authorization granting metro unfettered access to all of his medical and military records, include a complete DD-214 (Walsh p. 351). Explain what the police department should have done differently.
Employers should try to treat returning veterans fairly but lack clear guidance from state and federal governments regarding USERRA requirements (Abramson, 2006). They should have just re-employed him because he satisfied all conditions of the USERRA requirements. Because they felt his document was hiding something, they had the privilege to follow up and check with the authorization he signed. The fact that he received an honorable discharge should have been sufficient for them to allow him to return to work without question.