The Oregon Supreme Court today upheld earlier decisions by the Oregon Court of Appeals and the Bureau of Labor and Industries that the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office violated the state's veterans' preference law.

At issue was a 2013 complaint filed by Sheriff's Office Sgt. Rod Edwards. Through his attorney, Sean Riddell, Edwards argued that when Edwards and two other seargents sought a promotion to lieutenant, then-Sheriff Dan Staton failed to credit Edwards for being a disabled veteran as state law requires.

A BOLI investigation found that Staton's administration "had failed to
devise any method of giving preference to disabled veterans in Edwards's situation. BOLI found that the county had offered "confusing and inconsistent" explanations as to how it applied the disabled veteran's preference.

The Supreme Court agreed with BOLI's assessment and upheld BOLI's order that Multnomah County pay Edwards $50,000 in damages.

"Today's ruling is a win for veterans and their right to have a level playing field when they return from service and apply for work at home," Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian said in a statement. "We're committed to ensuring that Oregon veterans have access to career advancement so that they can continue serving and contributing to communities around the state."