A Dover-based construction company has been sued by the federal government for allegedly firing a U.S. Air Force Reserve airman after his return from military duty.

The Justice Department and U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly III have filed a lawsuit alleging that Regal Contractors LLC, Regal Builders LLC and Noble Pond Homes willfully violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 by terminating U.S. Air Force Reserve member Lon Fluman following his return from required military training with his reserve unit.

The suit was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for Delaware.

According to the complaint, Fluman, a senior airman with the U.S. Air Force Reserve's 712th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base was scheduled for reserve military duty beginning Sept. 3, 2012, but was rescheduled on short notice to start one day later. Subsequently, he served weekend reserve duty in early December 2012. Following his second tour, the defendants terminated Fluman from his position as a maintenance technician. Although Fluman satisfied USERRA's notification requirements before departing for his military duties, according to the complaint the defendants terminated him anyway, claiming the notice provided was not sufficient.

USERRA explicitly protects the rights of members of the uniformed services to retain their employment following absences due to military service obligations.

This case stems from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor following an investigation by the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service. The case is being handled by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware, who work collaboratively with the Department of Labor to protect the jobs and benefits of National Guard and Reserve service members upon their return to civilian life.