Reservists Get a Raw Deal on Employment, ROA Says

ROA testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing on “Access to Justice for Those Who Serve”

By Jenny Swigoda
ROA, Content Manager
posted on Thursday, March 27

Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, ROA urged the panelists to consider the unique plight of Reservists who are uniquely positioned for discrimination in the workplace due to their service.

ROA Executive Director Major General Andrew B. Davis, USMC (Ret.) delivered testimony before the committee and pointed to high numbers of unemployment for members of the Reserve and Guard.

“The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in February 2014, unemployment has risen back to 16.6 percent of veterans between 18 to 24 years of age, and climbed to 18.8 percent of veterans between 25 to 29 years of age. The 18 to 24 year old group and the 25 to 29 year old group are made up in large part of the Reserve and Guard. The overall veteran unemployment rate was 6.3 percent.”

Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) needed reform as the law contained several holes for employers to fire employees for their service duties and only receive minor penalties. Although the law was formed to prohibit employer discrimination, few lawyers are knowledgeable of its existence.

“Those rights have to be protected,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “They’re not only necessary, they’re essential.”

Also on the panel of witnesses, Lt. Kenneth “Gene” Savage recounted the hardships his family has been through since he lost his job at FedEx. Although the corporation didn’t outright express it, the Airman believed the firing was due to his Reservist duties. His case is still pending, but he thanked ROA’s Service Members Law Center for their guidance in his case.  

Click here for ROA's written testimony.