A Seattle federal jury has awarded now-retired Reserve TSgt. Gerald Delay $542,000, saying his termination from employer Ace Heating after he returned from active duty stints in Southwest Asia violates his rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Associated Press news service reports that Delay won $292,000 for lost wages and punitive damages, and $250,000 for defamation because his former employer “fabricated” documents to support its contention that Delay had been a “disciplinary problem.” (AP via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.) The Labor Department initially ruled against Delay, but the Reservist enlisted the help of the legal office at McChord AFB, Wash. AP also reports that the employer claims it prepared the documents from “real notes” and that Delay’s work had deteriorated after his return from SWA. The jury didn’t see it that way.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.