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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Grand Forks County, North Dakota, to Enforce the Employment Rights of North Dakota Army National Guard Member

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced that it has reached a settlement that will resolve its lawsuit filed against Grand Forks County, N.D., on behalf of Suzanne L. Halverson in accordance with the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), if approved by the U.S. District Court in Fargo. USERRA prohibits employment discrimination against individuals because of their service in the uniformed services.

The complaint, filed in January 2009, alleged that Grand Forks County violated USERRA by taking into consideration Ms. Halverson’s military service obligations when it denied her promotion to a permanent juvenile detention officer position in the county’s correctional center. Under the terms of the settlement, which is called a consent decree, Grand Forks County is required to pay Ms. Halverson, who is no longer working at the correctional center, a monetary award of $20,000 for lost wages.

"No person should fear being penalized in their civilian careers because they serve in the military," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "This consent decree demonstrates the Department’s commitment to the vigorous enforcement of federal laws that protect the employment rights of men and women who serve in the military."

The Department’s Civil Rights Division places a high priority on the enforcement of service-members’ rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department Web sites: www.servicemembers.gov and www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp .

09-379
Civil Rights Division
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