It is no secret that military friendly companies are making a huge push these days to hire veterans. However, these same companies who can be seen at job fairs and advertised everywhere looking to hire veterans, are the same companies still laying off veterans.
After speaking with two particular veterans who I work with as an employment counselor, I was reminded how in an instance, you can find yourself unemployed. One veteran is a Captain for the reserves who was working full time for a well known bank, while on his 2nd deployment in Afghanistan. While deployed, he received a notice that he was switched from one bank location to another. Figuring it wasn’t too much of a big deal, the Captain figured once he got home to Long Island, he will find out the whole reason for the move. Unfortunately, when he returned home, the bank location he was transferred to had closed, and he was asked if he would be willing to accept a severance package.
Being deployed for a 2nd tour to Afghanistan at a year’s length is already something any veteran will tell you is a struggle to cope with, but imagine also returning home and finding out, the very bank that promotes they hire veterans, has also laid you off while you were deployed, and is now offering a severance package to help ease the pain. USERRA issue?
Another veteran is going through a similar situation, though he has been out of the military for years. Once a director for a very well known hospital here on the “Island,” who also promotes they hire veterans, but now finds himself at the unemployment office believing it was his age and salary that got him laid off. Though this Vietnam veteran isn’t quitting and hopes to get his old job back by reminding this company they are promoting they are a “military friendly” company and hiring veterans.
Do I have the whole story of why these two veterans were laid off? Maybe not. Are veterans today still being laid off by companies who promote they are “military friendly”? Absolutely. Are veterans being laid off for understandable reasons? Sometimes, yes. Are veterans still being discriminated serving in or out of uniform, having a disability, age, or cause of deployment obligations? Sadly, yes.
All branches of the Active military are covered under USERRA, including the reserve components during federal training or service in the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. Understand your rights under USERRA, and if you feel your rights have been discriminated, start with these steps.
– Check to make sure you have a valid USERRA violation. Check out http://www.esgr.mil/USERRA/USERRA-for-Service-Members.aspx.
– If you believe or are unsure of your rights being violated, contact ESGR’s customer service at -1800-336-4590
– You can also file a complaint to VETS (Veterans Employment and Training Service) provider by filing a form 1010 http://www.dol.gov/elaws/vets/userra/1010.asp or by calling 1-866-4-USA-DOL
– Also be sure to check out Pre and De-mobilization Employer Support Checklist http://www.esgr.mil/Service-Members-Family/Deployment-Tips-and-Checklist.aspx
Separating from the military today can be stressful enough for any of you, but hearing from fellow veterans dealing with situations like the two veterans I have mentioned can really get you questioning whether companies are serious about hiring veterans. You could be faced with this in today’s economy, though as a tactical veteran you will be prepared for bumps in the road with backup plans just like you were in the military.
Do you have a similar story of serving in uniform and being laid off from your full time civilian job?
Transitioning Veteran wants to hear from you.