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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 2, 2009
Justice Department Settles Lawsuit on Behalf of Kansas Air Force Reservist

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today announced a settlement that, if approved by the court, will resolve allegations in a lawsuit the Department filed on behalf of Randall A. Slocum, an Air Force Reservist, against the city of Iola, Kan.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., in December 2008, alleged that the city of Iola violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by taking into consideration Slocum’s military service obligations when it disciplined him and denied him a wage increase. USERRA was enacted in 1994 to protect service members from being disadvantaged in their civilian careers due to serving in the uniformed services. Among other things, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against service members because of their military service obligations.

Under the terms of the settlement, the city is required to pay Slocum back wages, liquidated damages, and to provide him the wage increase the city denied him based on his military service. The settlement also requires the city to correct its employment records to remove references of Slocum’s unjustified discipline based on military service.

"The settlement reached today continues this nation’s commitment to service members who sacrifice to serve this country. The agreement demonstrates that reservists should be allowed to serve without fear of being penalized in their civilian careers," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Civil Rights Division is committed to vigorously enforcing federal laws that protect the employment rights of men and women who are serving in our nation’s military."

The Department of Justice filed the lawsuit after receiving Slocum’s complaint from the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor, upon completion of its investigation and settlement efforts.

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 Department of Justice Web site at the following link: http://www.servicemembers.gov, and on the Department of Labor Web site at the following link: http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.

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