Why Employers Discriminate Against The Guard And Reserve

Cory SchuylerCory Schuyler was out on a National Guard training day when he says he received an ultimatum from his boss. Schuyler, who spent 13 years on active duty, mostly in the Army Special Forces, was told that he had to choose: The National Guard or his job.

His employer, NEK Advanced Securities Group Inc., a government contractor that trains Special Operation forces, had hired Schuyler because of his military experience. And by law, employers are not allowed to discriminate against workers for their military service. So Schuyler balked, and contacted NEK's human resources department.

A couple of months later the company fired him -- citing performance issues -- but Schuyler believes that the real reason was his Guard duty. "My supervisor had animus towards anyone in the National Guard while holding a civilian job," says Shuyler, who has filed suit against NEK. The company didn't respond to AOL Jobs' requests for comment.

It's well known that some companies are wary of hiring veterans, but employer resistance to hiring National Guard and Reserves has been notoriously fierce -- with good reason, many say.

A Sacrifice, For Everyone

"They can't run the business with people on leave for 12, 18 months at a time," Ted Daywalt, a Navy veteran and the CEO of the leading military jobs site, VetJobs, told AOL Jobs. With the grinding decade-long wars, National Guard and Reserve members made up 28 percent of the 2.3 million service members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, over half of veteran suicides since 2001 have been among members of the Guard and Reserve.

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The greater sacrifice of our citizen-soldiers has also meant a greater sacrifice for their employers, who may invest in a worker only to see him or her called up to active duty for a year. In fact, the government agencies tasked with protecting veterans are possibly the worst offenders when it comes to reservists, The Washington Post noted last year. In 2011, the two employers that faced the highest number of discrimination complaints were the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. As Daywalt puts it: "That's like the police leading the rates of robberies, rapes and murders."

While it's illegal to discriminate against Guard and Reserve members, many believe that the practice is so rampant that it explains the high rate of veteran joblessness. The unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans was 9.3 percent in February, according to the Department of Labor, compared to 7.3 percent for the non-veteran population. But a National Guard-specific survey at the end of 2012 found that more than 1 in 5 guardsmen were unemployed. Some Guard chapters report brigades returning home with unemployment rates exceeding 50 percent.

"That's what's skewing the numbers. Truly skewing the numbers," Daywalt asserts, adding that many reservists end up volunteering for second and third deployments, because they can't find other work. "It's like being caught in a death cycle."

No Simple Solution

In the past year, many National Guard units across the nation have been experimenting with ways to reduce the unemployment among their troops, offering resume-writing workshops and career counseling to help returning guardsmen translate their military experience into civilian-speak.

More: Veteran's Jobs That Pay Over $60,000

Schuyler says that he applied for around 150 jobs with no luck. The National Guard service on his resume didn't help, he thinks, nor did his termination and lawsuit. To pay legal fees, he dipped into his retirement savings, and sold off belongings, such as his four-wheeler and some extra furniture. He and his wife leased out their California house; she moved to Washington with the two kids to live with her parents while he moved in with his brother.

Finally, Schuyler gave up his dream of spending more time with his family, and returned to active duty. He's now stationed at an Air Force base in Florida. After 19 months apart, his family are finally coming to join him, and Schuyler's trial is set for October.

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Justin Hill

This article fails to mention the glass ceiling we face when it comes to promotions. If I had to do it all over again i would not have joined the Reserves, employers hate us! The Reserves were never designed to be used the way it has been used for the last 14 years, the PENTAGON is killing our careers. Being a Reservist means being a second class citizen with your active duty command and your employer.

January 23 2016 at 9:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The military should give them a position when they finish their service mission. That would be better than hiring untrained people, who end up going against what the government stands for. You know who, people who are now looking for asylum in foreign countries. That job given to the un-named should be assigned to our men and women who served or are out of the service. Take care of your own. Stop dumping our loyal soldiers on the private sector to be treated disrespectfully.

July 13 2013 at 11:00 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Thats is commanaly known as being screwed by your own goverenment.

April 02 2013 at 9:45 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The article says this company is a government contractor. If they are guilty of firing this guy because of his guard duty, they should have their contract nullified. Any government contractor that does this should have their contract nullified. No one was firing people after 9/11, but we sure were expecting them to meet their duty requirements in the guard. Governement agencies complicant in this should have their directors exposed and perhaps fired. This is disgraceful.

April 02 2013 at 4:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

ITS JUST MOT PRIVATE COMPANIES, IT IS OUR OWN GOVERNMENT- THERE MORE ANTI vet HIRING VETERANS THEN THE CORPORATIONS. Look how they treat the vets look at the va baclk log and who even got it the worst is women soldiers and veterans. Our so called news media will not report the truth

April 02 2013 at 2:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I find the practice very offensive and illegal ( which it is ). But as a nine year Vet during VN, I am more offended by the vets who have made comments against this soldier ie "stop crying". And the VA itself has practiced this illegal practice! No wonder we vets from the past are treated so poorly. Am curious you crybaby "vets", did you receive other than honorable discharges?

April 02 2013 at 2:11 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

You drafted, you got something coming, you volunteer, who knows for what reason? I am a fifteen year vet of the 50's. Why? One young and dumb. Two, was sold a line of **** that really only applied to WWII when we were defendind the US. Since then it's been the stupidity of the country joining the so called United Nations. Nope, if the country drafts you you got it coming, otherwise, get out, shutup and get a job. Just sign me, an old tax payer and an obeyer of the speed laws. That there should tell you all how dumb I am.

April 01 2013 at 11:22 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The company needs him to fulfill the oblighations of their government contract. It not like he was a state or municipal employee that wouldn't be missed anyway.

April 01 2013 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Apparently Hitmanblues condones this behavior. I'd rather fight it because I have lost two jobs because of my Guard status. I should have filed a complaint against them, but at the time I didn't know of any laws protecting us. The company I work for now has hired several Guard and Reserve, so at least I know they are with us.

April 01 2013 at 8:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Oh boo hoo this has been happening since the VN conflict that I served in so quit crying already

April 01 2013 at 7:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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