ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A Westover High School teacher plans to sue the Dougherty County School system over a pay dispute.
John Daughety was deployed to Afghanistan with the National Guard. He says the School System did not restore his pay to the level it was before his deployment. The School System says they followed the law.
Daughety is a math and science teacher, who says his paycheck was cut by more than half since he returned to the classroom from deployment with the 48th Brigade. And he's ready to go to court to challenge the school system's calculation of his salary based on the federal law protecting soldiers rights.
Daughety was in Afghanistan with the National Guard for nine months, serving as a Staff Sergeant with the 48th Brigade. A former Marine, he has worked with the Dougherty County School System since 2002.
So he says it's nothing personal, just business that he threatens to sue the system for pay he feels he is owed.
"20 years I've been trying to do the right thing, and that's what I'm expecting them to do now, the right thing."
Since Daughety returned to the classroom in April, his monthly paychecks have been less than half what he was paid before his deployment. The school system says his contract is for 190 days, and they are pro-rating his salary for time he was deployed.
"If you don't work the number of days in the contract, then you are not paid for them. So that's essentially what happened," said Dougherty County School System attorney Tommy Coleman.
Daughety points out federal law regarding soldier's re-employment rights after they have been deployed on active duty.
It says: "The service member is to be restored to the position of employment held before deployment with the same pay and benefits as if his employment had not been interrupted by his uniform service."
Daughety says he believes federal law means the school system should have resumed paying him his regular monthly salary, and that the schools have shorted him nearly seven thousand dollars.
"I want them to return my back pay for April, May, and June, and return me to my regular pay for the remainder of this contract."
The Dougherty County Schools say they support his service, and are paying Daughety the correct amount, and by law can't pay him for days he didn't work. Daughety says if the school system doesn't repay him, he will file suit next month.
Daughety says the Dougherty County School System kept paying him while he was deployed until he contacted school officials and pointed out the error, and paid them back the $12,000.
He says it's ironic that the schools paid him when he was not working, and now that he is back in the classroom they don't want to pay him.
Daughety is currently teaching summer school. He says he just wants to be treated as federal law requires. Coleman says they are paying him just like all other service members who have been deployed and returned to work.