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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: employment rights

Jerome sheriff’s office settles deployed Guard member’s employment rights case

The U.S. Justice Department has reached a settlement with the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office over allegations that the sheriff’s office violated the employment rights of an Army National Guard member when he was recuperating from a knee injury he suffered during military service. While the sheriff’s office doesn’t admit all the violations alleged by the Department of Justice, it agreed to pay the employee, a corporal, $150,000, including $75,000 in lost wages, and to provide a letter requesting his return to eligibility for state employment.

The corporal, Mervin Jones, started working for the sheriff’s office in 2002 as a correctional deputy; he was promoted to corporal in 2007. In 2004, while deployed to Iraq, he injured his knee, an injury that was aggravated in 2008 during a weekend Guard training. In 2009, while Jones was recovering from multiple knee surgeries, the sheriff’s office allegedly denied his request for light duty, required him to fill out family medical leave paperwork unnecessarily, subjected him to an unlawful “fitness for duty” evaluation and physical fitness test and fired him.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, or USERRA, protects the employment rights of service members who leave their civilian jobs temporarily for military service; U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson announced the settlement.

Justice Dept. sues Jerome sheriff over violating Guard member’s employment rights

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the Jerome County Sheriff’s office, saying it violated the employment rights of an Army National Guard member. Mervin Jones, a corporal for the sheriff’s office, suffered a knee injury while deployed to Iraq in 2004, and later aggravated it during Guard training in 2008. The sheriff’s department is accused of refusing to accommodate him as he recovered from knee injuries in 2009, and then firing him.

“Members of the Army National Guard sacrifice time away from their jobs to serve their country,” said U.S. Attorney for Idaho Wendy Olson. “USERRA (the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994) ensures that they are not discriminated against after they have returned and their employment rights are protected. We are committed to vigorously enforcing USERRA’s protections.” You can read the U.S. Attorney’s full announcement here.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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