Bullhead City Fire settles with soldier

A settlement has been reached resolving claims that the Bullhead City Fire District (BCFD) violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), by discriminating against U.S. Army Reserves Member Brett Guinan and by failing to reemploy him following his military deployment.

According to the complaint filed in the United States District Court of the District of Arizona, BCFD discriminated against Guinan by terminating his employment on the basis of his military service. The complaint alleges that, between 2008 and 2013, Guinan was deployed three times in the Army Reserves. During his second military deployment, Guinan’s supervisor began making negative statements about Guinan’s military service obligations. In June 2013, while Guinan was serving his third deployment, BCFD eliminated Guinan’s Fire Inspector position and terminated his employment, claiming to have undergone a “reduction in workforce.” Guinan’s Fire Inspector position, however, was the only job position eliminated in 2013. After Guinan’s position was eliminated, BCFD also continued to pay other people to perform Guinan’s Fire Inspector duties and continued to post new job openings on its website. The complaint further alleges that after Guinan returned from his third deployment, he notified BCFD that he was seeking reemployment. Despite Guinan’s efforts to be reemployed, BCFD refused to reemploy him as required by USERRA.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, filed along with the complaint, BCFD has agreed to pay $75,000 as back pay and front pay damages to Guinan. BCFD also has agreed to adopt a new personnel policy that informs employees of their rights and obligations under USERRA and to provide USERRA training to all supervisory staff in its five fire stations.

This case stems from a referral by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), pursuant to an investigation by the DOL’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service.

USERRA protects the rights of uniformed service members to retain their civilian employment following absences due to military service obligations, and provides that service members shall not be discriminated against because of their military obligations.

7 Comments

  1. The fire administration is so disfunctional that moral within the department is in the basement. The fire chief has continued to disregard any sense of doing the right thing. He brought in a assistant fire chief to support his agenda. The assistant fire chief has done such a horrible job that he received a vote of no confidence from the workers, within the first year of his employment. The fire chief didn’t care what the workers thought because he has no accountability from a fire board of old men that eat lunch daily with the administration. The chairman of the fire board was posting racist jokes to his Facebook account and didn’t care what people thought about it. The fire chief also kept protecting the old PIO who had continuously had been involved in on duty vehicle accidents, one of which was a hit and run. The PIO was also seen at a rub n tug with a dept vehicle. Tax payers will continue to pay for the incompetence of the fire administration and fire board.

  2. This is very one sided in the soldiers favor, he was let go without any reason. The fire Chief has done so many things inappropriately that this is just the tip of the ice berg. There have been 3 lawsuits involving the fire Chief in the last 2 years involving firings and the misuse of funds, but yet no one is concerned or checking into this guys activities. I’m a long time employee and we are all terrified for our jobs and our families future. I’m living this nightmare every day.

  3. Two sides to every story. Do then tell us the other side. Do not just make a statement and not follow through with what you are insinuating

  4. Just remember that there are two sides to every story. This one was very one-sided…

  5. Public service companies should be first in line to support our military and not be pulling this kind of crap.

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