Justice Department Settles Akal Security Claim to Enforce Service Member’s USERRA Rights | Takeover bid
The Justice Department announced today that it has finalized the settlement of a claim against Akal Security to protect the rights guaranteed to a military reservist, Chief Petty Officer Robert M. Diaz (retired), by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).
Since 2005, Diaz has worked as a full-time Judicial Security Officer (CSO) at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston. He also served our country as a member of the Coast Guard Reserve and, from October 2012 to September 2015, he participated in an active-duty military deployment. Akal Security managed the CSO contract in 2012, when Diaz left for military service. Upon returning from service, Diaz returned to his CSO job, but his pension was not credited with the time he would have worked as an CSO without his military duty, as required by USERRA. In the settlement agreement announced today, Akal will compensate Diaz for pension credits and benefits he lost during this period of service to the country.
“We are grateful to Mr. Diaz and the other men and women of our armed forces for the sacrifices they make in the service of this country,” said Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division of the Ministry of Justice. Justice. “When our country calls the military to duty, the Civil Rights Division will vigorously enforce laws designed to protect them from discrimination in their civilian jobs, including ensuring they receive proper retirement benefits.”
“Our laws protect the civilian careers of the brave men and women who serve our country. The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing these laws when employers violate them, ”Acting US Attorney Fred Federici for the District of New Mexico said. “Reserve members are often called upon to quit their civilian jobs in order to ensure the security upon which our country depends. They shouldn’t have to worry about losing their jobs or, as here, their retirement benefits, when they answer that call.
USERRA protects the rights of military personnel in uniform to retain their civilian employment after absences due to military service obligations, and provides that military personnel will not be discriminated against because of their military obligations. USERRA also requires pre-deployment employers to provide retirement benefits when their employees are called up for active duty. The Department of Justice places a high priority on the enforcement of military rights under USERRA. Additional information about USERRA is available on the Department of Justice websites at www.justice.gov/crt-military/employment-rights-userra and www.justice.gov/servicemembers as well as on the website of the Department of Justice. Ministry of Labor (DOL) at www. .dol.gov / vets / programs / userra.
The case stems from a referral by the US Department of Labor, at Diaz’s request, after an investigation by the DOL’s Veterans Employment and Training Department. The case is handled by Jeffrey Morrison in the Employment Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and Assistant United States Attorney Manuel Lucero in the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico.