Suit: Prep AD Unlawfully Replaced During Military Tour | Athletic Business

Suit: Prep AD Unlawfully Replaced During Military Tour

A former athletic director and English teacher at W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia, S.C., said in a lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month that even though he helped run the athletic department remotely while he was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, the school’s principal replaced him in violation of federal law.

As reported by The State, Dameon Franklin is suing Richland County School District 1 for violating federal law by replacing him while he was serving in combat zones for the U.S. Army Reserve.

“While Mr. Franklin was serving the country in Iraq and Afghanistan, the principal of W.J. Keenan decided to place a friend in that role,” said Franklin’s attorney, George Harper, according to The State.

The paper cited the Cornell Law School's website, which indicates that Federal law allows an employer to temporarily replace a soldier when he or she is deployed overseas. But when that person returns, the employer has to give him or her the job back. “You can’t not give a deployed service person his position back when they return,” Harper said.
But that's just what happened to Franklin, according to the suit. Instead, Franklin was offered a job as an English teacher at C.A. Johnson High School with a lower salary and fewer responsibilities, the suit said. While athletic director at Keenan, Franklin made $88,000 a year, and the job he was offered paid $55,000, a reduction that runs contrary to the law, Harper said. The suit also alleges Richland County 1 failed to pay Franklin a total of $28,695 while he was deployed over a period spanning March 2019 to January 2020.

District spokeswoman Karen York said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

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