Seven Seals Award given for the Department of Justice's work on two veterans bills passed by the 2009 Oregon Legislature
Attorney General John Kroger today announced that the Oregon Department of Justice received the Seven Seals Award for its efforts to create new laws that protect veterans.
Senior Assistant Attorneys General David L. Kramer and Paul Sundermier, both veterans of the U.S. Armed Services, deserve credit for writing two new laws that protect veterans from discrimination, said Kroger.
"Paul and David understand the need to ensure that the men and women who help protect this country are treated with fairness and dignity when they return home," Kroger said.
Protecting veterans from discrimination is part of the mission of the new civil rights section in the Oregon Department of Justice. Kroger, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps, successfully persuaded the 2009 Legislature to provide funding to create the section.
The Seven Seals Award recognized the Department of Justice, Kroger, Kramer and Sundermier for proposing and helping pass House Bills 3256 and 3020 in the 2009 Oregon Legislative Session.
HB 3256 makes it illegal to discriminate against veterans in the workplace because of their military service. The new law ensures that reserve and guard members can keep their jobs after being deployed or participating in military training without fear of negative repercussions at work.
HB 3256 also gives the Attorney General and the Bureau of Labor and Industries the authority to investigate and enforce allegations of workplace discrimination against veterans. It also allows veterans to sue over discrimination in state court.
HB 3020 amends Oregon's Unlawful Trade Practices Act to protect veterans and their families by making it an "unconscionable tactic" to knowingly take advantage of a customer who is a disabled veteran or service member or the spouse of a disabled veteran or a service member.
The new legislation also incorporates into the UTPA the consumer protection provisions of the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. These changes will help protect veterans against unscrupulous retailers and businesses that try to take advantage of families already stressed by military deployments or by military disabilities. HB 3020 will provide veterans with the opportunity to seek relief in Oregon state courts. It also provides the Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section of the Oregon Department of Justice with the authority to protect veterans in the marketplace.
The new laws take effect on January 1, 2010.
Attorney General Kroger will officially accept the award for the Department of Justice in January after Senior Assistant Attorney General Eugene Ebersole, a captain in the U.S. Navy, returns from active duty in Iraq.
The "Seven Seals Award" is presented on behalf of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Mr. Thomas Hall. The award is named for the seven "seals" (insignias) of the military forces that comprise the Armed Forces Reserve: the Army National Guard, the United States Army Reserve, the United States Marine Corps Reserve, the Navy Reserve, the Air National Guard, the Air Force Reserve Command, and the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Paul Sundermier and David Kramer were presented with their awards on August 4, 2009, by the Oregon Chair of DoD's Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve program (ESGR), Brigadier General (Ret.) Bill Doctor.
Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 firstname.lastname@example.org