DOJ Settles Milwaukee Lawsuit to Enforce Air National Guard Member's Rights

The Department of Justice recently announced that it has reached a settlement in its lawsuit against the city of Milwaukee on behalf of Michael Crivello, a detective in the Milwaukee Police Department, alleging the city violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA).

The settlement, embodied in a consent decree that the parties have submitted to the court for approval, calls for Milwaukee to provide Crivello with a retroactive promotion date in the rank of detective, as well as $21,190 in backpay, retroactive seniority, and other benefits that flow from the date adjustment.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Milwaukee in July 2009, alleges that the city violated USERRA when it did not provide Crivello, while he was a police officer, with the opportunity to take a make-up examination for promotion to detective that he missed while on active duty military service, thereby denying him the seniority, status and compensation he would have received but for his active duty service in the military. The city subsequently promoted Crivello to detective after he passed the next scheduled administration of the examination, but the delay still resulted in his loss of pay, seniority, and other benefits, including eligibility for future promotions.

Because his delay in promotion to detective also delayed his eligibility to take subsequent promotional examinations, Crivello may also qualify for additional relief if the city administers a lieutenant of detectives promotional examination within one year from the entry of the decree.

"No member of our armed services should be disadvantaged in the workplace because he or she answered a call to duty," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. "I am pleased the city of Milwaukee cooperated in working towards a resolution that restores Mr. Crivello's rights without the need for protracted litigation that would unnecessarily expend the resources of two public bodies."

The lawsuit was filed after the Department of Labor's Veterans’ Employment and Training Service referred a complaint filed by Crivello under USERRA to DOJ's Civil Rights Division upon completion of its investigation and unresolved settlement efforts.

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