Posts

Supreme Court Asked to Take Up Workplace Rights for Reservists

supreme court

By Debbie Gregory.

Lawmakers are asking the Supreme Court to decide whether military reservists’ unfair dismissal claims can be forced into arbitration by their civilian bosses.

Because the case involves veterans’ rights, the legislators are hopeful that the Supreme Court will show appreciation for our citizen soldiers by allowing them to legally stand up for their workplace rights.

The filing’s intention is to overturn a previous appeals court ruling against Kevin Ziober, a Navy reservist who sued his employer for firing him before his year-long deployment to Afghanistan.

In mid-May, Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal spearheaded the filing of a amici curiae brief , also known as a “friend-of-the-court” brief on behalf of  himself, six fellow senators and 13 House members.

The members of Congress urged the Supreme Court to reaffirm a longstanding principle that all veterans’ rights laws must be interpreted for the benefit of veterans. It is also imperative to protect veterans and servicemembers against waiving any of their rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), including their procedural enforcement rights like the right to file an action in federal court.

“They’re serving and sacrificing so we have these rights, and then they come home and they are denied those very rights that they are fighting to uphold.”

The aforementioned case alleges that in 2012, real estate company BLB Resources told Ziober he was out of a job. The company denied wrongdoing, saying it terminated Ziober for sub-par performance on a federal contract assignment, and not for his deployment.

Upon returning to the U.S., Ziober brought a lawsuit against BLB under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) a 1994 law banning companies from discriminating against employees for taking time away from work to serve in the reserves.

If the Supreme Court accepts the lawmakers’ request, it could finally end what has become a pain point for employment in several industries.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: New Initiative to Promote Veterans’ Rights

DOJ

By Debbie Gregory

On March 19, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of the “Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative.”

The DOJ’s commitment to service members and Veterans was explained in both a video and on the DOJ blog. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Although we can never hope to repay the debt of gratitude our nation owes the heroes who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, we must never forget to acknowledge what we owe.”  The DOJ, being firmly committed to acknowledging that debt, created the Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative.

The sacrifices of the men and women who serve in uniform go beyond the courageous acts of battlefield valor. The truth of the matter is that service members face constant challenges when exercising their civil rights and maintaining their families’ financial security. It is for this reason that the DOJ prioritizes enforcing the statutes specifically created to protect the civilian employment rights, voting rights, and financial security of those serving in the Armed Forces.

The challenges don’t stop when a service member separates from the Armed Forces.  For example, as many as twenty percent of our nation’s Post-9/11 Veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or other mental health problems connected to their service. It is for this reason that the DOJ supports Veterans’ Treatment Courts, which promote sobriety, recovery, and stability for Veterans struggling with addiction or mental illness who have become involved in the criminal justice system.

The “Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative” will reinforce the importance of recognizing Veteran sacrifices and the critical work that the department has already started to promote service members and Veterans rights. The initiative’s initial focus will be on three areas:  enforcement, education, and access to justice.

The initiative is to be led by three dedicated career DOJ attorneys who have strong ties to the Veteran and military communities. Their task will be to further the existing efforts within the DOJ by coordinating and expanding enforcement, outreach, and training efforts on behalf of service members, Veterans, and their families.

For more information about the DOJ’s “Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative” please visit www.justice.gov or email your questions or concerns to [email protected]

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Initiative to Promote Veterans’ Rights: By Debbie Gregory