Company to pay soldier it fired after deployment

EVERETT — A south Everett battery company has agreed to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice, which alleged that the company failed to properly rehire an Army reservist after he returned from a deployment to Iraq in September 2010.

The Justice Department announced Monday that it reached a settlement with All Battery Sales and Service on behalf of Curtis Kirk, the reservist. Under the terms of the settlement, the Everett company must pay Kirk $37,500 to compensate him for lost or reduced wages and benefits. He could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit alleged the battery company violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and unlawfully demoted and then terminated Kirk’s employment without proper cause. The settlement still needs to be approved by the federal District Court in Seattle.

According to the complaint, the company did not return Kirk to his previous position working at the front counter or place him in a position with comparable seniority, status and pay.

The suit alleged that All Battery Sales and Service gave Kirk a lower-status position than the one he held when he left for active duty service, with fewer guaranteed working hours, a less lucrative commission and bonus structure and fewer opportunities for promotion. The battery company later demoted Kirk further and fired him without cause, also in violation of employment the rights act, the lawsuit said.

The settlement also requires the company to provide training to its staff on the rights of military reservist employees and obligations of their employers.

“Just as our dedicated men and women of the military protect our freedoms overseas, we must protect their interests here at home,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan in a statement. “These soldiers have made many sacrifices, and the loss of a career or the job they are entitled to when they return home cannot be allowed. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to enforcing the laws that protect the rights of those brave men and women who serve our country proudly.”

Phone calls to All Battery Sales were not returned Tuesday.

The law requires that any individual with Kirk’s length of absence for military service who is reemployed cannot be fired within one year after returning to the job except for just cause, the Justice Department statement said.

Additional information can be found on the Justice Department’s websites at www.usdoj.gov/crt/emp and www.servicemembers.gov.

More in Local News

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

High-speed, tire-shredding Marysville chase ends in capture

The 28-year-old driver is now being held for investigation of more than 25 criminal counts.

Election results for Snohomish County school districts

Updated 2/16: Here are the returns for Tuesday’s special election ballot measures.

School levies still passing in 3 districts after latest tally

In the initial count, ballot measures in Lake Stevens, Marysville and Snohomish had been losing.

7-hour police standoff near Lynnwood ends with surrender

Deputies seized a rifle, pellet gun and knife at the scene.

Scattered power outages around region after gusty Saturday

Up to 2 inches of snow could fall in some lowland areas of Snohomish County, forecasters said.

Front Porch

EVENTS Learn about the microgrid Snohomish County PUD plans an open house… Continue reading

Ban on bump-fire stocks makes progress in State House

The Senate approved the bill but would need to vote on any changes made by the House.

We might see snow in the lowlands this weekend

Snow in the mountain passes will definitely be deep, forecasters say.

Most Read