The United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Brockton Police Sergeant Brian Benvie, an Iraq war veteran, alleging that he was disadvantaged based on his military status. The lawsuit alleges that the city and state violated Benvie’s rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 when they failed to fully credit his time in grade earned from his retroactive promotion to sergeant. Benvie earned the promotion after topping a make-up promotional exam upon his return from active-duty military service in Iraq in 2007.
According to The Enterprise News of Brockton, “the suit seeks to provide Benvie with a makeup exam for the lieutenants’ promotional exam that he was not permitted to take; place Benvie on the appropriate eligibility list based on his score on the lieutenants’ exam; and, should his score merit it, retroactively promote Benvie to lieutenant with all of the rights, benefits, and seniority that he would have enjoyed if he had been permitted to take the exam in October 2008 and had achieved the same score.”
“According to the complaint, while Benvie, then a Brockton patrolman, was on active duty from May 2006 to September 2007, an exam for the rank of sergeant was administered. When he returned, he scored a 93 on a makeup exam, and he was promoted in July 2008.
“However, Benvie learned that another patrolman with a lower score had been promoted to sergeant in October 2007, so he requested his promotion be retroactively adjusted to that date. Had he not been called to active duty, he would have been promoted based on his score in 2007, the complaint argues.
“After initially rejecting his request, the city, at the urging of the US Department of Labor, granted Benvie the retroactive promotion and more than $6,000 in back pay.
“In October 2008, Benvie applied to take a promotional exam for the rank of lieutenant. But the state, which administers the exams, denied his request, stating he had not spent the required one year in his current rank. Benvie, however, claims he did spend the necessary time because of his retroactive promotion, the complaint argues.”