MARTINSBURG -- A former MasTec Advanced Technologies employee claims he lost out on a promotion because the United States Army called him to active duty.
Eugene C. Burress filed a lawsuit Nov. 30 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia against MasTec.
Burress claims he began working as a technician for MasTec in March 2006. In July 2006, MasTec promoted Burress to field technician supervisor.
In December 2007, MasTec's Regional Manager Tom Stieringer offered Burress another promotion to the site manager position, which he claimed would soon be vacant, according to the complaint.
But in January 2008, the U.S. Army called Burress to active military duty, so Burress informed Stieringer of his upcoming military service, the suit states. Still, Stieringer assured Burress the site manager position would remain available to Burress when he returned from his military services, the complaint says.
While home on a short leave from military service in July 2008, Burress again discussed the position with Stieringer, who again assured Burress the position remained open, Burress claims.
But in October 2008, before Burress returned from military service, Stieringer promoted another man to the site manager position, according to the complaint.
When Burress returned home from the military and after he was honorably discharged in December 2008, he returned to work at MasTec, but could only work as a field technician supervisor with no increase in salary, the suit states.
Although Burress returned to MasTec, he filed a complaint with the Department of Labor: Veteransﾒ Employment and Training Service, alleging MasTec violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by denying him a promotion because of his call to active military service, the complaint says.
After Burress filed the complaint, MasTec fired him on June 27, he claims.
Burress wants the court to declare that MasTecﾒs discrimination was unlawful; to declare that MasTec violated the USERRA; and to require that MasTec fully comply with all provisions of USERRA by paying Burress all amounts it owes him, including lost wages and other benefits. In addition, Burress seeks liquidated damages, pre-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just and asks the court to prevent MasTec from taking any action against Burress that fails to comply with USERRA provisions.
John M. Gadzichowski, Louis Lopez and Hillary J. Funk of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., and Daniel W. Dickinson of the Office of the United States Attorney in Wheeling will be representing him.
U.S. District Court case number: 3:09-cv-76