PORTLAND — A member of the Maine Army National Guard has sued the owner of the G.H. Bass store in Freeport in federal court, alleging the company refused to keep him on after his annual training was rescheduled because of a unit change.

The company claimed Zachary Grant, 25, of Pownal, quit, then tried to rescind his resignation. Store managers have said he left the store a mess.

Grant’s attorneys, Chad Hansen and Peter Thompson of Portland, alleged in the lawsuit that Bass violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by not re-employing him after he rescinded his resignation and refused to give him time off for activities required by the Guard.

Sarah Geislinger, manager of legal services for AM Retail Group Inc. — the Brooklyn Park, Minn., firm that owns G. H. Bass — declined to comment Monday on the pending litigation. The company has not yet filed an answer to the complaint in U.S. District Court.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act protects civilian job rights and benefits for veterans and members of the active duty and Reserve components of the U.S. armed forces, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The act provides that returning service-members must promptly be re-employed in the same position they would have attained had they not been absent for military service. It also requires employers to give service members time off for service-related activities.

Grant worked from Jan. 4 until May 20, 2014, as assistant manager at the Freeport Village Station location of the shoe and clothing retailer, according to the complaint dated Sept. 19. His job performance was rated satisfactory.


Before working for Bass, Grant was in the U.S. Marine Corps and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, the complaint said. He now serves in the Army National Guard, 262nd Engineer Company, based in Westbrook.

In March, while working for Bass, Grant joined the Maine Army National Guard 251st Engineer Company as a combat engineer. His first drill dates did not interfere with his work schedule, but a physical exam May 2, required for his then scheduled deployment in December 2014, presented a conflict.

When Grant requested time off on May 1 for the exam the next day, his supervisor denied him the time off because he had not given enough notice, the complaint said. He rescheduled the exam for May 16.

On May 8, Grant gave his two weeks’ notice, but he changed his mind a week later and informed his supervisors he wanted to keep his job. While at drill May 17 and 18, he received a schedule that set his annual guard training for June 8 to June 30 rather than July 30 to Aug. 17, which is when it was set with his previous unit. He gave the new schedule to his supervisor at Bass on May 18.

On May 20, the next day Grant worked, his supervisor said he left the store a mess May 16, the last day he worked before drill. Grant denied leaving the store messy. According to the complaint, Grant believed he subsequently was not reinstated because of his commitment to the military.

In the complaint, Grant’s attorneys alleged his request to rescind his notice of resignation was a request for re-employment, which was unlawfully denied by Bass, and said the company fired him by refusing to allow him to rescind his notice of resignation.


Grant is seeking back pay and benefits, unspecified damages and legal fees. He also is asking U.S. District Judge Jon Levy to order the company not to violate the employment act in the future.

Attorney Hansen said Monday his firm handles about half a dozen similar cases for members of the military each year.

A report by the U.S. Department of Labor said its Department of Veterans’ Employment and Training Service reviewed 1,328 separate complaints in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 20, 2013. About 25 percent involved allegations of improper reinstatement, according to the report.

Hansen said Grant, who has a new job, did not make a complaint to the Labor Department but chose to file the lawsuit instead.

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