From Texas Public Radio:
The Texas Supreme Court has accepted a case that could have major implications for military reservists whose employment rights are violated by the state.
Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) in 1994 to prevent discrimination against service members who leave their civilian jobs temporarily to perform military service. It tries to ensure their jobs will be waiting for them when they come back.
A lawsuit filed in 2017 in Nueces County accuses the Texas Department of Public Safety of violating that law as it pertains to an Army reservist. But there are questions about whether Texas can be held liable in USERRA cases filed in state court.
The petitioner, Le Roy Torres, enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1989. For 18 years, he served as a reservist while employed as a State Trooper for DPS. He was called to active duty and deployed to Iraq from 2007 to 2008.
While overseas, he developed severe breathing problems that he attributes to burn pit exposure. Torres was honorably discharged from the Reserves in 2008, and told DPS that he intended to return to work. But he alleges that the department failed to accommodate his reemployment after he returned.
“I was back home for about two weeks when I ended up in the ER with a really bad respiratory infection,” Torres said.