About a fourth of US government employees are military veterans. Fourteen percent of guardsmen and reserves have active duty jobs. Federal law makes it illegal for any employer to discriminate against these troops when their government recalls them to active duty.
Would it therefore surprise you to learn who the biggest offender against that law is?
In fiscal 2011, more than 18 percent of the 1,548 complaints of violations of that law involved federal agencies, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
“On the one hand, the government asked me to serve in Iraq,” said retired Army Brig. Gen. Michael Silva, a reservist who commanded a brigade in Iraq and was fired from his job as a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol contractor on his return. “On the other hand, another branch of government was not willing to protect my rights after serving.”
The federal government is the largest employer of citizen-soldiers. About 123,000 of the 855,000 men and women currently serving as Guard members and reservists, or about 14 percent, have civilian jobs with the federal government. Over a fourth of federal employees are veterans.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), enacted in 1994 to ensure that members of the military do not face a disadvantage in their civilian careers because of their service, calls on the federal government be “a model employer” for service members.
But critics contend that the federal government has been far from perfect, and they fear that with troops back home from Iraq and more on the way from Afghanistan, violations of the law could increase.
Good enough to serve, fight and maybe die. Just not good enough to retain.
Your tax dollars at work.