Cutting a Deal
The Justice Department has reached a settlement with a Lynnwood, Wash.-based knife and tool company accused of breaking a law intended to protect reservists' employment rights.
The complaint alleged that S.O.G. Specialty Knives Inc. violated the 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act by improperly discharging a Coast Guard reservist when he was called to active duty in January 2003. The complaint also claimed that S.O.G. failed to properly re-employ the reservist in a position of similar status and duties once he returned.
USERRA guards the reemployment rights of military service members or veterans when they return from active duty.
After completing an investigation, the Labor Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service referred the Coast Guard reservist's complaint to the Justice Department.
The knife company, in a consent decree that must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, agreed to compensate the plaintiff an unpublished sum.
"We have a duty to our men and women in the military to enforce vigorously their legal right to be free of employment discrimination on the basis of their military service," said Bradley Schlozman, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division. "We are very pleased to see a positive resolution in this case."
Schlozman said the knife company cooperated with the investigation and offered the settlement, but denied any wrongdoing.
S.O.G. Specialty Knives did not return calls requesting comment.
According to the Justice Department, this is the eighth USERRA complaint filed since the civil rights division received enforcement authority for such cases in September 2004.