Imagine serving your country knowing that when you were done with your commitment that you would have your job waiting for you. After all, it is a federal law that an active-duty service member must be able to keep their job. A disturbing trend is happening to these service members — they are coming back only to find that their job is not open for them, and to make matters worse, these are federal jobs.
According to figures from the Freedom of Information Act, more than 18 percent of the 1,548 complaints of violations in 2011 were against federal agencies. The Uniformed Service Employment and Reemployment Rights Act enacted in 1994, states that members of the military will not be penalized because of their service. But this is not the case. In many instances, service members are coming back to job offers that have been withdrawn or if the service member can’t get released from active duty fast enough, they lose the job opportunity.
In the United States there are approximately 1,000 National Guard reserve and active duty troops coming back from Iraq, Afghanistan or other military duty every year, and the federal government is the largest employer of these service members. Approximately 14 percent of National Guard members or reservists have civilian jobs with the federal government and more than one fourth of the employees are veterans.
Critics believe that the problems with the reemployment continue to exist even though the Obama administration has made employing veterans a priority. They think the issue resides with no agency overseeing the practice and that there are no incentives for the federal government to change its practices.
These instances of federal discrimination could continue to increase as more of our service members are coming home. The United States government is complex and if you are a federal employee currently experiencing adverse actions from your employer, you should speak with an experienced attorney that understands the federal government and is able to handle complicated labor and employment law cases.
Source: The Daily Republic, “Returning military members: Feds not offering jobs back,” Steve Vogel, Feb. 22, 2012