Battle lines are being drawn for a new phase of the Iraq war. This time, however, plaintiffs lawyers are leading the offensive, and they view employers as the enemy.

In a test of a military leave law updated after the Persian Gulf War, a client of San Francisco’s Rudy, Exelrod & Zieff sued one of Northern California’s largest health-care providers Tuesday for alleged discrimination based on her military service. Some lawyers and veterans say the suit highlights the challenges defense lawyers face when a worker goes to war and again when she returns home.

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