Le Roy Torres v Texas Department of Public Safety: A Victory!
After returning from service in Iraq with a lung injury caused by exposure to toxic burn pits, Army Captain Le Roy Torres requested reasonable accommodations to continue his work at the Texas Department of Public Safety. Instead, the Department denied his request and forced him to resign. Torres then sued the department under USERRA. A Texas appellate court later ruled that USERRA’s cause of action was unconstitutional because Congress lacks the power to authorize lawsuits against non-consenting states.
After Captain Torres appealed the case to the Supreme Court, Congressman Castro led a letter to then-acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar asking the Department of Justice to file a brief urging the Supreme Court to grant review of the case, reverse the lower court’s decision, and affirm Congress’s broad authority to legislate in support of its War Powers.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 29, 2022 that the state of Texas can be sued under military anti-discrimination law, siding with Le Roy Torres who said Texas violated federal law when it did not give him a new job upon his return from military service.
In a 5-4 vote, the high court ruled that states gave up their immunity under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which protects veterans from employee discrimination. This victory will ensure all veterans' jobs are protected when they return home from service.