The Justice Department has filed a suit against Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. It alleges the college has failed to promote an Army National Guardsman, Sergeant First Class Timothy Stoner, because of anti-military bias.
The Daily Caller reported that according to the complaint, Stoner has been a Pima Community College police officer for thirteen years. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Lead Police Officer until the position was eliminated. The duties of the position were to be added to the new position of Police Corporal.
Although Stoner was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and did not return stateside for another year, he still applied for the new position from his overseas duty station. He was selected as one of six finalists after successfully completing the written exam and an interview by a three-person panel. He was the only finalist that was a member of the military.
Except for Stoner and one other, all finalists were given the position of Police Corporal. He was the only former Lead Police Officer that was not promoted.
According to The Daily Caller, the Justice Department suit claims former Police Chief Stella Bay commented that it was “selfish” of Stoner to apply for the position while volunteering for active military duty. She was one of two people who decided who got promoted.
Last year, Stoner applied for a newly vacant position for Police Corporal. Even though he was selected as a finalist yet again, he was not promoted. Coincidently, once more he was the only finalist to be a member of the military.
Bay, who resigned in 2013, expressed her concerns at the time about military members having the skills to take on the position. According to the Justice Department suit, she stated that “military service members are so used to taking orders that they cannot think for themselves and do not do well in stressful situations.”
The suit claims Bay’s refusal to promote Stoner in both instances violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, which “requires employers to put individuals back to work in their civilian jobs after military service” and “protects service members from discrimination in the workplace based on their military service or affiliation.”
Vanita Gupta, the Acting Assistant General for the Civil Rights Division said, “Employers have a legal obligation to respect and honor the rights of our uniformed service members to be fairly considered for promotions and other employment opportunities and not to subject them to unlawful discrimination because of their service in defense of our country.”
The Daily Caller reported that the Justice Department is now demanding that Pima Community College promote Stoner to Police Corporal. In addition, they are asking that he receive all the wages and benefits he would have earned had he been promoted in 2010.