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Surgeon sues over dismissal from Heritage

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An orthopedic surgeon is suing Heritage Medical Center and its former CEO in federal court for allegedly terminating him while serving in the Army last year.

Richard Slusher is demanding unspecified damages for wrongful discharge and retaliation from the Shelbyville hospital, which he claims violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by terminating him while he was serving in Iraq.

USERRA was a federal law passed in 1994 to protect service members' and veterans' civilian employment rights. It requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs following military service, and protects them against discrimination in the workplace based on their service.

Falsehoods alleged

Slusher also claims that false allegations were made against him after he filed a USERRA complaint with the Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS), which found that Slusher's claims have merit.

The federal suit was filed in September against Shelbyville Hospital Corporation, which does business as Heritage Medical Center, and former CEO Dan Buckner individually. In recently filed court documents, both Heritage and Buckner have denied the allegations.

"It is our practice not to comment on personnel matters or pending litigation," said Charisse Judkins, the hospital's director of marketing and public relations.

U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice Jr. has set a scheduling hearing in the case for Dec. 20.