Dentist claims he lost job due to Army deployment

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Feb. 27, 2012, 9:10am


TYLER - A major with the U.S. Army Reserves has filed a lawsuit against his employer alleging he was terminated from a dental practice when he was called for deployment.

Jeffrey T. Shelton, D.D.S., filed suit against GS Physician Services Inc., doing business as Good Shepherd Health System, on Feb. 24 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division claiming violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

Shelton accepted defendant's employment offer in January 2007 to work as an in-house dentist and left his private practice. According to the lawsuit, Shelton was commissioned as a major in the U.S. Army in January 2010 and is currently a member of the U.S. Army Reserves.

In early 2011, Shelton was advised that he would be deployed for 90 days. According to the complaint, Shelton notified his work superiors and was terminated approximately three weeks later. His termination was to coincide with his deployment, which began in May 2011.

The defendant is accused of violating the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals who have been called to duty in the uniformed services.

The plaintiff is asking for more than $650,000 in damages for economic losses in the form of lost patients/business, plus an award of punitive damages, attorney's fees, interest and court costs.

Shelton is represented by Christopher L. Ash and Steven R. Shaver of Shaver & Ash in Mesquite. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:12-cv-00086

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