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

Snohomish man, 63, missing from home since Monday

He left without his keys, wallet and phone, saying something about going to “the river.”

Firefighters come to the rescue and give mom new stroller

Donations to the Good Neighbor Program covered the $143.20 cost.

He drank nearly a gallon of vodka, then grabbed a cop’s gun

He got pummeled for that. Police had been trying to keep him on a gurney for an ambulance ride.

Police seek witnesses to hit-and-run

An 88-year-old woman was hurt when a Prius turned right at an intersection and struck her walker.

Man killed in collision near Highway 92 identified

Kristofor Nordgren, of Lake Stevens, was driving his Subaru when it hit atruck and a Ford Focus.

Case unresolved: The noose at an Edmonds construction site

Though two were fired over comments about it, police were unable to determine who put it there.

To get drug money, Lynnwood man says he cut 911 wires

Those wires happened to be the ones used by 911 dispatchers, but emergency services weren’t affected.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Most Read