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Harassed for going to Iraq: Margate officer wins lawsuit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,Human Resources

A police officer recently won a harassment lawsuit against the city of Margate for the city’s response when the U.S. Army Reserve called him to active duty.

The 15-year veteran of the Margate police force had served in the reserves for 24 years and never had trouble obtaining leave to attend military training in the past. But when the Army called him up for active duty in Iraq, he claimed his supervisors denied his requests for leave, changed his work assignments and reduced his pay. The Army deployed the officer to Iraq, and he served for a year. He’s now back on the Margate police force.

The jury awarded the officer $63,000, plus $26,649 in legal fees.

Advice: Make sure you’re familiar with employers’ responsibilities under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). Among other things, the law prohibits discrimination against reservists and prohibits you from firing a returning soldier without cause or notice. Learn more about USERRA at www.dol.gov/vets.

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