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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Justice Department Files Lawsuit on Behalf of North Dakota Army National Guard Member

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice today filed a lawsuit on behalf of Suzanne L. Halverson, an Army National Guard member, against Grand Forks County, N.D., alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), which prohibits employers from discriminating against service-members because of their past, current or future military service obligations.

The Department’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in Grand Forks, alleges 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.

"Our men and women in uniform must be able to serve their country without fear of being penalized in their civilian careers," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department remains 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 Ms. Halverson’s complaint from the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service of the Department of Labor (DOL), once DOL’s investigation and settlement efforts were complete.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division places a high priority on the enforcement of service-members’ rights under USERRA. In 2008, the Civil Rights Division’s Employment Section filed a record high number of USERRA suits. 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 DOL Web site at: http://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.

09-074
Civil Rights Division
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