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Warren schools, principal settle military leave dispute

Posted November 4, 2013

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— The U.S. Department of Justice and the Warren County Board of Education have settled a lawsuit over a school administrator who lost his job while serving in the Army Reserve, officials said Monday.

Sgt. First Class Dwayne Coffer was an assistant principal at Warren County High School and took periodic leave to fulfill his obligations in the reserves, and officials said the school board didn't renew his contract in 2008 because staff members expressed frustration at accommodating his military service during the school year.

Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against service members regarding their past, current or future uniformed service obligations. The law requires employers to promptly re-employ service members following their return from military leave.

Under the settlement, Coffer received a two-year contract as a lead teacher at the salary he would have received had he remained employed. The school board also will pay him $10,000 in back-pay and contribute $13,702 in lost payments to his retirement account.

“USERRA affords military members who leave their civilian careers behind for significant periods of time to serve our country certain protections against unjust terminations,” Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “It is important that veterans have the opportunity to serve their country free from worry about termination without cause.”

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  • wonderwoman 65 Nov 6, 2013

    I agree that he should have never lost his job AND he should be reinstated to the same position he had when he left. He was a great leader in the school and I am glad he at least go some sort of settlement but it should have been more!

  • baldchip Nov 5, 2013

    They had best take care of this man!!! Good men and women that serve in our reserves and National Guard must be protected from unappreciative employers!!

    There should be a hefty fine for this school system!

  • ytb781pearl Nov 5, 2013

    Shame on them!!

  • bdu4dals2 Nov 5, 2013

    I have always said, I can take an average soldier and make them a great teacher, but most great teachers will not make an average soldier......guess this is again proven true.

  • kellypratz Nov 5, 2013

    staff members expressed frustration at accommodating his military service during the school year.

    Wow, staff members need to take a good look who again gives them their freedom in this country! To all the brave men and women who serve, the rest of us thank you for your service!!

  • BeKind Nov 5, 2013

    Thank you, soldier, for your service to this country and our schools. Cudos to you for standing up against this board. Shame on the Warren County School Board. Where was YOUR professionalism?

  • jjrn Nov 5, 2013

    What a slap in the face to the brave men and women who serve our country. Shame on them!

  • pedsrndad Nov 5, 2013

    I am surprised the Board would have been so ignorant as to have done this sort of thing. It is common knowledge that employers must make allowances for employees military service. Now the taxpayers have paid for teaching services not actually rendered. Hope the voters remember this incident.

  • tiblet Nov 5, 2013

    It may seem like a hardship when you have to leave a job open for someone that is taking long periods of leave to serve....but let's look at the larger picture and realize that the men and women that serve in the reserves are training to be prepared to be called up to fight for our freedom. It's worth the sacrifice.

  • down by the pond Nov 5, 2013

    school board didn't renew his contract in 2008 because staff members expressed frustration at accommodating his military service during the school year. ( whiners really people)

    Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against service members regarding their past, current or future uniformed service obligations. The law requires employers to promptly re-employ service members following their return from military leave.
    ( not sure what attorney the school board used, but really, this is such a no brainer) sounds like a bunch of Warren County politics got in the way of a "law" to protect our military - kind of embarrassing huh warren county ,,,,i mean really?

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