The City of Brockton, Massachusetts recently agreed to pay $32,356.84 to a United States Army reservist to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Brockton allegedly violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) when it failed to promote Army reservist Brian Benvie’s to police sergeant because he was away on military duty. USERRA generally requires that employers rehire returning military service personnel into positions similar to what the service members would have held if their military service had not interrupted their employment.
The DOJ claimed that Brockton failed to retroactively promote Benvie to sergeant, the rank he would have held had he not been called for reserve duty. Additionally, the DOJ alleged that Brockton denied Benvie the opportunity to take the October 2008 lieutenants’ promotional exam when he returned from service.
The settlement requires that Brockton provide Benvie with backpay and promote him to police lieutenant.
“The men and women who bravely serve our nation in the armed forces should not have to sacrifice their civilian career opportunities to do so. Employers have a legal obligation to ensure returning service members are placed back into the appropriate position and status, when they return from military duty, as required by law,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.