Friday, December 17, 2010

Justice Dept sues city and state

The US Justice Dept has filed a lawsuit against the city of Brockton and the state of Massachusetts over Iraq War veteran Brian Benvie whom they argue was denied a promotion in the Brockton Police due to his service. The Justice Dept issued the following notice yesterday:

Thursday, December 16, 2010
Justice Department Files Complaint Against City of Brockton, Massachusetts, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts for Violating the Employment Rights of an Iraq War Veteran
WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today the filing of a complaint against the city of Brockton, Mass., and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for violating the rights of an Iraq war veteran, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated Brockton Police Sergeant Brian Benvie’s USERRA rights when they failed to fully recognize the retroactive promotion to sergeant he earned after taking a make-up promotional exam upon his return from active duty military service in Iraq in 2007. 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 eventually retroactively adjusted Benvie’s promotion to the date he would have been promoted but for his military service. However, the defendants 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.

"No service member should miss out on opportunities for advancement in the civilian workplace because he or she answered a call to duty," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will use all of the tools at our disposal to protect the rights of those men and women who serve our country and make sacrifices to protect our rights."

U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts 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 Justice and Labor Departments place a high priority on the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. "Our two agencies work closely together to ensure that our service members are treated right when they return from service," said Ray Jefferson, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.

This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint Benvie filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). After an investigation, DOL determined that Benvie’s complaint had merit and referred the matter to the Justice Department. The case is being handled by the Employment Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

In other US government news, Carol Cratty and Pam Benson (CNN) report, "U.S. officials say they have no specific and credible information about planned terror attacks on the United States, but they have issued an intelligence bulletin to state and local law enforcement warning terrorists could target large crowds at holiday gatherings." Happy holidays! And who invited Nouri? Khalid al-ANsary (Reuters) reports that the news or 'news' of an attack comes via the Iraqi government or 'government,' specifically the Ministry of the Interior's Dihya Hussein who claims a suspect provided the details in the midst of a confession or 'confession.' And in an apparent effort to share the seasonal cheer, AFP reports that the Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bolani, has informed the Iranian government that he will share "his ministry's support and experience in fighting terror" following a suicide bombing in Iran. When someone looks across the globe for a region that's safe and secure, Iraq really doesn't make the top ten or even top 100. In other grab the happy face stamp and grin broadly, Khalid al-Ansary and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report that Iraq's "restarting its nuclear medicine programme" because who wouldn't want Iraq to have nuclear capability right before the potentially upcoming coup that will make Iran's 1979 overthrow of their US puppet look like Holiday On Ice.
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And we'll close with this from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee's video page, Dick Durbin addressing the topic of earmarks.

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oh boy it never ends