News and Press Releases

Justice Department Settles Lawsuit Against Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Regarding Alleged Violation of US Army Reservist’s Reemployment Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2012

     WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC). The settlement, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, resolves allegations that PDOC violated the reemployment rights of U.S. Army Reservist David C. Fyock, of Kennerdell, PA, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

     The department’s complaint, which was filed on Oct. 27, 2011, alleges PDOC violated USERRA by failing to retroactively promote Fyock from a corrections officer 1 to a corrections officer 2 position at the State Correctional Institution Mercer in Mercer, Pa., based on his successful performance on a make-up promotional examination after returning from a military deployment. According to the complaint, Fyock’s score on the make-up examination was higher than the score of any person promoted to any of the 13 vacant corrections officer 2 positions filled based on the May 2007 promotional test he missed.

     Under the terms of the settlement, Fyock will receive a promotion to corrections officer 2 (sergeant), as well as back pay and other benefits.

     Subject to certain conditions, USERRA requires employers to promptly reemploy returning service members in the positions they would have held had their employment not been interrupted by military service, or in positions of like seniority, status and pay.

     “The Civil Rights Division is committed to protecting the reemployment rights of the men and women who serve our country in uniform,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “No service member should have to forego an opportunity for advancement in his or her civilian career due to military service.”

     “This office strongly supports the rights of service members and the objective of the statute which is to help veterans reclaim their rightful positions in the workforce after they complete their military service,” said Peter J. Smith, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

     This matter was litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa Swauger and Timothy Judge of the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in collaboration with attorneys from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The case stems from a referral from the U.S. Labor Department's Veterans' Employment and Training Service.

     The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has given a high priority to the enforcement of service members' rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA can be found at www.servicemembers.gov.

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