USERRA doesn't address this issue.

We have an employee returning to work soon after military leave. When this newly married employee was sent to Iraq, he left behind a pregnant wife, AND a pregnant girlfriend. The girlfriend is also our employee, and she continues to work here. (Both babies were born during his leave.)

This was an ugly situation between wife and girlfriend. Wife had battery charges and a restraining order against her. Aside from the rampant rumors and each employee on the shift taking the side of the wife or the girlfriend, most of the problems were outside of work.

I have had some contact with the wife while our employee was gone. (I have a casual connection to her since she used to work in the office 2 blocks away from here with my husband. My connection to her certainly does not prevent me from being impartial here, but I felt I needed to explain the reason for our contact.) The wife has expressed a desire that her husband NOT return to work here. Unfortunately, that is exactly what he has chosen.

When he notified me that he plans to return to work in a few weeks, he did ask for a transfer to another shift. That is not an option, and I told him so. (He works on the evening shift and our day shift is full. I have not filled a day position for over a year.) He indicated that there were people on the night shift he should stay away from. We were in a public area when we had this discussion so I could not discuss much more with him. I have asked him to come in next week to take care of any paperwork (return to health insurance, etc.) and I plan to have a conversation with him about this situation then.

Aside from their stupid actions in the past, (and who among us hasn't done something stupid in the past) these are all 3 decent young people. I would like to do what I can to make the return to work a smooth transition for this young man, as well as everyone else. My biggest concern actually is that the wife will come to the workplace and cause problems, but I know that all I can focus on here is what concerns performance at work.

I think I know how to handle this (one issue at a time as it comes up) but I would love to hear other perspectives and suggestions.

Thank you!


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Take USERRA totally out of the picture since, you are correct, this soap opera is not addressed there. Treat this situation the same way you would treat it if he were returning after a 12 week FMLA absence, no different in any respect.
  • Good point "Dandy Don", but I would add that she must review the company promotions, wage increases, subjective bonuses, if any, holidays, vacation days and PTO, etc. to insure the soldier is made whole, which would not be required under FMLA.

    You can stand your ground that he must go back into the position that he previously held and that you will review the situation when an opening on the desired shift comes open, a failure to review could also lead to USERRA.

    It can not be viewed as retalitory, if one simply goes from his departure date and block out any negative things that might have happened while the ee was on MLA, and give the ee all positive things that happened while the ee was away.

    His/her old position awaits the arrival of the MLA ee, and the temporary ee hired in the ee's place has been alerted that the pink sheet is on the way, and will land in his/her lap on the day before the MLA ee returns.

    Good luck and may you have a Blessed day and week with the returning MLA ee. We wait two, who want return until July, 2004. With God's Blessing they too will return safe and sound.

  • Two new babies, a girlfriend and a wife? I'm kind of surprised he didn't want to extend his tour in Iraq!

    Seriously though, just make sure you treat him as you would any other returning reservist under USERRA and deal separately with the ancillary issues unrelated to the leave. You say that he feels there are people on his old shift he should "stay away from," and I would monitor that situation very closely, because I'm assuming he's concerned about his safety around certain people. As far as the wife is concerned, obviously you have a right to prevent her from coming on your premises if her intent is to do harm.

    Remember, USERRA prevents you from terminating a returning reservist except for cause for a certain period of time after his/her return. However, if sparks begin to fly make sure you're prepared to deal with the situation appropriately.
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