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Austin company settles claims it laid off military reservist because he had been called to duty

July 18, 2018

An Austin, Texas, technological-standards company on Wednesday settled allegations by the U.S. Department of Justice that it illegally laid off an employee because of his ongoing military service obligations.

Wi-Fi Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes Wi-Fi technology and standards, was accused of terminating the employment of Charles O’Donnell, a Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army Reserve in 2016. Although the layoff was part of an overall reduction in workers, it coincided with Mr. O’Donnell’s military duty, according to court documents.

Under the terms of the settlement, Wi-Fi Alliance has agreed to pay $62,500 in back pay to Mr. O’Donnell and will conduct a company-wide training service member rights and will review its anti-discrimination policies, the Justice Department said announcing the settlement.

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 safeguards the rights of service members, including reservists, to retain all employment benefits in the wake of absences due to military service obligations.

“The men and women of our Armed Forces expect and are entitled to the peace of mind of knowing that their civilian employment will not be jeopardized because they serve our country,” said acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division.

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