Luxury Jeweler Harry Winston Settles Employment Discrimination Claim By Army National Guard Reservist

The luxury jeweler, Harry Winston Inc., has settled a claim that the company violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by refusing to offer full-time employment to U.S. Army National Guard Reservist.

The reservist, John A. Walker Walker, applied for a job with Harry Winston, Inc., which denied his application. Walker alleged that Harry Winston, Inc. refused to hire him because of his military service obligations.

Under the terms of the settlement, Harry Winston, Inc. has agreed to fully compensate Walker for his back-pay and non-wage damages.

Congress enacted USERRA to encourage non-career service in the uniformed services by reducing employment disadvantages; to minimize the disruption to the lives of persons performing military service, their employers and others by providing for the prompt reemployment of such persons upon their completion of such service; and to prohibit discrimination against persons because of their service in the uniformed services or if they pursue a claim under USERRA.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) referred this matter following an investigation by their Veterans’ Employment and Training Service. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Employment Litigation Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division handled the case and work collaboratively with the DOL to protect the jobs and benefits of military members.