Yesterday, the House and Senate Veterans’ affairs committees held a hearing regarding the problem of employment discrimination against National Guard and military Reserve members. The President of the National Guard Association of the United States, Ret. Army Maj. Gen. Gus Hargett, told the members of the committees that he believes employers routinely decide not to hire members of the National Guard and military Reservists, in violation of federal law. He said that employers “find subtle ways to avoid hiring a serving member of the Guard or Reserve in order to avoid disruptions to the workplace from deployment-related absences.” The unemployment rate for National Guard and Reserve members is reportedly 20%, twice as high as the rate for post 9/11 veterans who have left military service.
Under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), employers may not discriminate against members of the National Guard or military Reserve units. Employers must permit these servicemembers to take leave from work to undergo training and go on military deployments. If you are in the National Guard or Reserves, and your employer is discriminating against you or not permitting you to take leave for training or a deployment, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to learn more about your rights.