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April 06, 2005
Bridgestone Settles Military-Leave Complaint over Pay

Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire has agreed to settle a Justice Department lawsuit alleging the company violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act of 1994 by failing to advance a returning member of the Army National Guard on its progressive pay schedule while the guardsman was serving on active military duty.

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To the settle the lawsuit, the company agreed to advance the guardsman on its progressive pay schedule and pay him lost earnings, plus interest. In settling the lawsuit, the company denied any wrongdoing.

The complaint alleged that Bridgestone failed to advance the guardsman on its progressive pay schedule during a period of approximately 15 months while the guardsman was serving on active military duty.

According to the government's complaint, the guardsman joined the Army National Guard in August 2000. He was subsequently hired by Bridgestone in May 2002. The guardsman was then activated as a member of the Army National Guard under Operation Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom from December 2002 to March 2004. Upon his return to Bridgestone, the guardsman was paid at the same rate as when he left, rather than being advanced on the company's progressive pay schedule, according to the Justice Department.

The Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS) of the Labor Department referred the guardsman's complaint to the Justice Department upon completion of its investigation.

This is the third USERRA complaint filed by the Justice Department since the Civil Rights Division received enforcement authority for USERRA cases in September 2004.

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