Fired DISD Officer Sues District, Claims He Was Terminated Because He's An Iraq War Veteran

Categories: News
dallasisdpolicebadg.jpg
Speaking of federal lawsuits ...

Here's another one I found Tuesday morning, filed Monday in the U.S. Northern District of Texas Dallas Division: Rodney Bennett v. Dallas Independent School District.

In the complaint, which you'll find in full on the other side, Bennett says that between 2001 and the end of last August, he worked for the district as a member of its police force till he was demoted and then fired shortly after his return from a tour of duty in Iraq.

Bennett says, and the Army confirms, he was a member of the Army National Guard of Texas. During his tenure as a DISD cop, he was deployed overseas twice -- first to Afghanistan (from March 2005 through June '06), then to Iraq (from May 2007 through March '09). Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox said late yesterday the Lancaster resident enlisted in '88 and served as what the Army refers to as a "wheeled vehicle mechanic," though in Chris Hawes's Channel 8 story that aired last night, it would appear as though Bennett saw plenty of action while overseas.

According to Army records, four months after Bennett's second tour of duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq, he was discharged from the Army National Guard. An Army spokesman told Unfair Park late yesterday that there is "no record of any disciplinary action in the files we have on him."

Bennett says that upon his return from Iraq in the spring of 2009, the district refused to give him back his old job and that he was "involuntarily demoted to a security guard," then knocked down further still to dispatcher -- "in the process losing status [and] seniority." Finally, says the complaint, on August 31, 2010, he was fired altogether, despite having passed physicals and completed paperwork "that should not have been required of him." The suit claims the DISD violated, among other things, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which "prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation."

And why was he fired? According to the complaint, his termination was ...
... based on the explicitly stated perception expressed by his supervisor Calvin Howard ("Howard") that returning veterans could not function as police officers because of perceived problems associated with the risk of posttraumatic stress syndrome in combat. Defendant, through Howard and others, further insisted upon the necessity of certain physical and psychological examinations not otherwise required of employees returning from leave who were not protected by USERRA and not perceived as disabled.
The DISD hadn't seen the suit when initially asked for comment; I sent a copy to district spokesman Jon Dahlander, who responded via e-mail Tuesday morning, "Like other suits, we'll let our judicial system handle this." Rodney Bennett v DISD
My Voice Nation Help
9 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
do it
do it

Disd stand is probably bialigual a plus !

do it
do it

Rightful firing of an administrator is what needs to happen !

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

What a slap in the face to vets everywhere.

Meanwhile, get ready. This will just be the first in a wave of wrongful termination suits brought on by the apparent negligence of the DISD HR Department.

TimCov
TimCov

Well, we have yet to hear DISD's side. But, at the very least, it sounds like they were in violation of federal law when they refused to give him his old job back.

StopDISDorg
StopDISDorg

What is DISD thinking! This employee was fighting for our freedom!

DISD is paying good teachers to retire, others will be fired and schools will close their doors while the contractors (DISD's friends) building new schools and demolishing newly renovated schools won't see any pay cuts!

Please help put an end to the wasteful spending! O.M. Robert Elementary was renovated just a few short years ago now it is scheduled for demolition and 22 million more tax dollars will be used to rebuild and destroy a neighborhood to put in parking lots in-between remaining homes.

What a Waste!

Learn More at www.StopDISD.org

Click on the link below to view Satire Video on DISD's Land Grab

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

duros
duros

No. He wasn't fighting for our freedom, He was serving his country. There's a difference. Our freedom was never at risk from Iraq.

C'mon
C'mon

Ooops....sounds like "Howard" needs to be fired as DISD is going to lose this one in a big way....and to "TheRealDirtyP1"..it was probably the same HR person who advised hiring Hinojosa.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Oh wow. Well, there goes a few more teacher's salaries to pay for this one. Who the hell is doing HR for them that advised them this would be a good idea?

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...