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Ousted Michigan cop demands respect for his veteran’s rights

A former U.S. Army veteran says that the Bay City, Michigan, police department made threats against him that forced him to "resign" his job as a police officer or face the possibility of being fired for alleged misconduct. In treating him this way, he asserts, they failed to comply with a state law that gives military veterans certain preferential rights for public employment. This act of discrimination, he contends, entitles him to a formal hearing before the city commission.

As the city has failed to respect his rights, he says, he has retained an attorney to represent him who is asking a court to issue an order compelling the city to conduct the requested hearing. As a veteran, the city has to have just cause for his termination, but they are trying to avoid this fact by pretending that the "resignation" did not essentially amount to a firing. He was accused of misconduct along with two other Bay City officers, both of whom also "resigned" after an investigation. His attorney says that even had the ex-officer done the things that the employer accuses him of, charges he denies, it would not have been enough to amount to the just cause as defined by state law to fire a military veteran from a government job.

The state Veterans' Preference Act, a state statute dating all the way back to 1897, says that a military veteran serving in a government job can only be fired for outright incompetency, a felony conviction, official misconduct, extortion or neglect of duty that is willful, serious, or habitual, as well as a criminal conviction for intoxication. Even then, a veteran has to have a full hearing before being fired, with the opportunity to air his or her side of the controversy.

The former officer served his country for approximately five years, obtaining an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 2001. Many employers disregard employees' rights, discriminating against them on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, or gender, as well as other protected classifications, such as military veterans. Experienced employment attorneys help workers fight back against such illegal conduct to try to regain their jobs and vindicate their rights.

Source:, "Former Bay City cop says his veteran's rights were violated, demands formal hearing" Cole Waterman, Feb. 07, 2014

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