Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feds Sue Brockton Over Iraq Veteran's Promotion

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston has announced the U.S. Justice Department's Division of Civil Rights has filed a lawsuit against the City of Brockton and state of Massachusetts for allegedly violating the rights of an Iraq War veteran who was denied a promotion to sergeant and barred from taking the lieutenant's exam.
In a prepared statement released today, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said, “our service men and women make the ultimate sacrifice by serving our country. We cannot allow employers to disadvantage them based on their military service or military status.”
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated Brockton Police Sergeant Brian Benvie’s rights as a military servicemen under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 when Brockton and the state of Massachusetts failed to fully recognize the retroactive promotion to sergeant Benvie earned after taking a make-up promotional exam upon his return from active duty military service in Iraq in 2007.
The U.S. Attorney claims Benvie’s score on the exam placed him at the top of the promotional list, and he was promoted to sergeant in July 2008.
Benvie subsequently learned that another patrolman with a score lower than his had been promoted to sergeant in October 2007.
After initially refusing, the city officials eventually retroactively adjusted Benvie’s promotion to the date he would have been promoted except for his military service.
However, the statement says, the city subsequently failed to give full effect to that promotion by denying Benvie the opportunity to take the lieutenants’ promotional exam.
Among other things, the suit seeks to provide Benvie with a makeup exam for the lieutenants’ promotional exam that he was not permitted to take; place Benvie on the appropriate eligibility list based on his score on the lieutenants’ exam; and, should his score merit it, retroactively promote Benvie to lieutenant with all of the rights, benefits, and seniority that he would have enjoyed if he had been permitted to take the exam in October 2008 and had achieved the same score.
According to the statement the lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint Benvie filed with the U.S. Department of Labor.
After an investigation, the Department of Labor determined Benvie’s complaint had merit and referred the matter to the Justice Department.
According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 is a federal law intended to ensure that persons who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, Reserves, National Guard or other “uniformed services:” (1) are not disadvantaged in their civilian careers because of their service; (2) are promptly reemployed in their civilian jobs upon their return from duty; and (3) are not discriminated against in employment based on past, present, or future military service.

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