Denied Rights He Fought to Protect

Navy reservist Kevin Ziober was working at BLB Resources, Inc. doing a job he loved at the civilian company he helped grow when he was called up to mobilize and deploy to Afghanistan.

On his last day at work, Kevin’s colleagues decorated his office with camouflage netting and balloons. There were gifts and cards placed on his desk, and his employer threw him a surprise party where they presented him with a patriotic cake that read “Best Wishes Kevin” in red, white, and blue frosting.

Kevin, so moved by his colleague’s support, called his family to tell them what his employer had done for him. But later that same afternoon, Human Resources called Kevin into a meeting where he was fired and told his position would not be available upon his return.

Despite Congress enacting the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) to protect members of the Armed Services when they are deployed from losing their jobs upon returning to the United States, businesses like BLB have found a way to work around the law by using forced arbitration - a secretive proceeding held behind closed doors, rigged to favor corporations.

Six months into Kevin’s employment, BLB required him to sign a forced arbitration agreement. At the time, Kevin could not have foreseen the injustice he would later experience and believed that USERRA protected his right to bring a lawsuit in court. But because Kevin was forced to sign away his rights, he was denied the opportunity to hold BLB accountable in Federal court and was instead forced into arbitration.

Kevin fought to protect the constitutional rights of Americans, but a corporation took those same rights away from him and undermined the intent of Congress when they passed USERRA. That’s unacceptable.

Congress urgently needs to do more to protect the rights of those who fight to protect our country.