Pittsfield Military Discrimination Suit Settled

The Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit over military discrimination with the Pittsfield, Massachusette, Fire Department.

The suit alleged that Pittsfield firefighter Jeffrey Rawson was passed over for promotion to lieutenant because of his military service obligations.  Rawson passed a promotional exam for lieutenant in 2009, ranking second.  In September 2010, he was skipped for promotion.

Rawson alleged his superiors directed hostility him, including comments that he needed to decide who he worked for, the Navy of the fire department. The suit based based on the Uniform Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).

Under the terms of the settlement, Rawson will be promoted to lieutenant retroactive to September 2010.   The city will also pay him $22,000 in back pay, pension contributions and interest.   The city has agreed to provide USERRA training to city department heads and supervisors on the rights and obligations of covered employees and their employers.

Here is the press release from the DOJ.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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