Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against City of Milwaukee to Enforce Employment Rights of Member of the Air National Guard

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee alleging it violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) by refusing to provide Michael Crivello, then an incumbent Milwaukee police officer, with a make-up promotional examination for detective that he missed while away on active duty military service with the Air National Guard and thereby failing to properly determine his reemployment status as a police officer eligible for promotion to detective.

Although Crivello was eventually promoted to detective based upon a subsequent promotional examination, the Department contends that Crivello is entitled to have his date for promotion to detective made retroactive, for all purposes, to the date he would have been promoted to detective had the city allowed him to take a make-up examination for the one he missed while on active duty military service. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Enacted by Congress in 1994, USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees or applicants for employment because of their past, current or future military obligations. Subject to certain conditions, USERRA also requires employers to promptly reemploy returning service members in the position they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service, or in a position of like status, seniority and pay. This protection includes opportunities for advancement.

"The Civil Rights Division is strongly committed to protecting the employment rights of the men and women who serve our country in uniform," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "No service member should miss out on an opportunity for advancement in his or her civilian career due to military service."

The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated and attempted to resolve Crivello’s USERRA complaint before referring it to the Justice Department for litigation.

The Department’s Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members’ rights under USERRA. This is the 18th USERRA lawsuit the Civil Rights Division has filed in 2009 on behalf of service members. Additional information about USERRA can be found on the Justice Department’s Web sites http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and http://www.servicemembers.gov, as well as on the Labor Department’s Web site at www.dol.gov/vets/programs/userra/main.htm.

09-670