In November, we discussed what kinds of discrimination active-duty armed service members may face in the workplace and what kinds of laws are in place to protect them from such behavior. Both federal and state employment law also protects Americans serving in the National Guard from both discrimination in hiring and in employment.
Members of the National Guard may find themselves either unable to get hired or promoted because of their service. A given employer may make this distinction plain or may make another excuse to disguise his or her true intentions. However, those who are discriminated against either explicitly or implicitly may fight to enforce their legal rights to obtain and retain employment free from service-based discrimination.
Currently, approximately 20 percent of individuals serving in the National Guard are unemployed. This rate is twice the number of unemployed military veterans who have been deployed since September of 2001. Veterans face unique hiring and employment challenges, but National Guardsmen seem to face an even steeper barrier to obtaining and retaining a job.
When considering the skills and discipline it takes to serve one's country, these unemployment rates should be puzzling. At the end of the day, employers may fear that service will interfere with job performance or they may not understand that Guardsmen are entitled to job consideration and promotion free of service-related discrimination. Whatever an employer's reason, this kind of discrimination is illegal and should not be tolerated.
If you believe that you may be facing discriminatory treatment due to your service in the National Guard, consider speaking with an employment law attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
Source: Idaho Statesman, "National Guard wages fight for work as members' jobless rate soars," Meghann M. Cuniff and Alexandra Zavis, Dec. 13, 2012