In January 2014, Christina Martin filed a class action lawsuit in Washington Superior Court alleging that the Washington State Patrol (“WSP”) has failed to provide military veterans with a veterans preference that is guaranteed under Washington State law when veterans apply to become WSP troopers or apply to be promoted to the position of Sergeant or Lieutenant. Martin and the other Plaintiffs alleged that the WSP had violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act’s (“USERRA”) anti-discrimination prohibition by denying the Plaintiffs the veterans preference.
On May 5, 2017, the parties reached a Settlement Agreement that is worth approximately $15 million, providing both monetary and non-monetary relief for the Class. The State of Washington will pay $13 million to cover claims for back pay and benefits and will contribute additional money to the Washington State Department of Retirement Services for retirement contributions lost in the hiring or promotions process of Class Members (those payments are valued at approximately $1.9 million). Under the terms of the Settlement, WSP has also agreed to modify the firing or promotion dates for at least 135 out of 769 Employee Class Members and to provide Veterans’ preference in the future.
On June 9, 2017, the Superior Court granted preliminary approval of the Settlement and appointed Peter Romer-Friedman of Outten & Golden as a member of Class Counsel.
In September 2017, the Superior Court held a fairness hearing and granted final approval of the Settlement Agreement.
Settlement adm’r web site: http://www.wspveteranlitigation.com/