Reservist to get back $25,000 in benefits lost while on active duty
A New Mexico-based security company will pay a reservist and retired chief petty officer $25,000 for pension credits and benefits he lost while serving in the military, the Justice Department announced.
Akal Security’s failure to credit Robert M. Diaz’s pension for the three years he served on active duty violated a law that protects service members from being discriminated against because of their military obligations, the agency said Tuesday in a statement.
While employed since 2005 as a full-time court security officer at the Moakley federal courthouse in Boston, Diaz also served in the Coast Guard Reserve.
Akal Security was managing Diaz’s contract when he left for military service in 2012, an active-duty assignment that lasted three years.
When Diaz returned to his civilian job, his pension wasn’t credited with the time he would have been working if not for his military duty, according to the Justice Department.
In court papers, Akal denied that it had discriminated against Diaz. But the company agreed to send Diaz a check via overnight mail for $25,000, minus any required withholdings or deductions.
“Members of the Reserves are often called away from their civilian jobs in order to provide the security upon which our nation depends,” Fred Federici, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico, said in a statement. “They should not have to fear losing their jobs or, as here, their pension benefits, when they answer the call.”
The Labor Department’s Veterans’ Employment and Training Service investigated the case, which was then referred to the Justice Department.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Acts protects the rights of service members to retain their civilian employment following absences resulting from military service.
The law also requires pre-deployment employers to provide pension benefits when employees are called to active duty.