NGAUS Boss Tells Congress of Workplace Bias

NGAUS Washington Report

(March 12, 2013) The NGAUS president told a congressional panel last week that employers discriminate against National Guard and Reserve members.

Retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr. told a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees that current laws are not enough to bring fairness to the workplace.

“Anecdotally, we continue to hear that employers will find subtle ways to avoid hiring a serving member of the Guard or Reserve in order to avoid disruptions to the workplace from deployment-related absences,” Hargett told the panel. “Although technically a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights, it is impossible to prove in most cases.”

He told lawmakers that while unemployment among veterans overall is on a downward trend, the National Guard Bureau reports much higher rates among its force. That’s because employers are seeking workers free of future military responsibility, he said.

Hargett also urged Congress to address mental health care in the Guard, saying it was related to the unemployment rate.

He suggested that the Department of Veterans Affairs contract with local providers to prevent some veterans from having to drive long distances for care.

Too many Guardsmen also “slip through the cracks” of VA health care, resulting in a high rate of benefit denial and a high rate of unidentified ailments related to service.

Read his testimony here.