Times-News: Jerome Sheriff's Department Disputes Improper Treatment of Injured Soldier


Mervin Jones was one of the nearly 5,000 Idaho men and women from the Idaho National Guard to be deployed to combat zones since September 2001.

Jones injured his knee during his 2004 deployment to Iraq. He re-injured the knee in 2008 during training maneuvers with his Guard Unit.

But Jones says that while recovering from multiple knee surgeries, his employers at the Jerome County Sheriff's Office violated his leave provisions and eventually terminated his job. Jones was hired as a correctional deputy with the department in 2002 and by 2007 had been promoted to the rank of corporal.

Jones alleges in a federal lawsuit that the sheriff's office forced him to complete Family Medical Leave Act paperwork even though his leave was protected under the Reemployment Rights Act. Jones further alleges that the department attempted to subject him to an "unlawful fitness for duty evaluation."

But this morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that Jones' former employer disputes the claims and said Jones was told "there was no light duty positions available for him and that he could only return to work with no physical limitations."

The sheriff's office asked that the suit be dismissed and that the department be awarded attorney's fees.