The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office broke the law when it failed to give special consideration to a veteran who applied for a promotion, the Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled this week.
BOLI ordered the county to pay Sgt. Rod Edwards $50,000, to comply with the law by writing a "coherent, consistent, written and reasonable method by which to apply veterans' preferences," and to train its staff on how to implement the law.
"It's a good victory, not just for me but for veterans," Edwards tells WW. "Employers need to understand they have to follow the law. The state recognizing it, now hopefully other employers will start abiding by the law. This is a great step."
Edwards suffered a chest injury during his four-year stint in the Navy. He claimed the sheriff's office failed to credit him with a preference for his disability when a lieutenant's position came open in 2012. BOLI said the sheriff's office policy was "confusing and inconsistent."
"The forum was particularly affected by his testimony that he feels his military service to his country is being "discarded and overlooked," the order reads. "The forum finds that this stress is more than just the stress derived from going through litigation. It arises from the fact that his coworkers, who were his superiors, and in some cases his supervisors, were parties to the unlawful practices; and he had to work with them as part of his duties."
Edwards has also filed a $1 million federal lawsuit against the sheriff's office.
Sheriff Dan Staton—himself a veteran—declined to comment though spokesman Lt. Steve Alexander, who said his office hasn't yet reviewed the order.