There’s a lot of employment discrimination out there against reservists.
This is actually understandable. If you’re an employer, it’s maddening to have to invest in hiring, training and finally relying on an employee, only to have them called off to serve at a moment’s notice, for a period ranging from a few months to a few years.
But you can’t discriminate in hiring them, and you can’t fire them for serving. That’s the law. The Uniformed Servicemember’s Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USSERA) provides legal protection to those of us who serve. It’s so important that the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) established an agency known as the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) to ensure compliance with USSERA.
But there are those employers who view reservists as value added. They see that what we do, while it may sometimes impact the operations of an individual business, benefits all business as a whole, by providing a secure and stable environment in which to work. Such employers may celebrate reservists, they may make special accommodations to help us participate in the workplace.
When an employer goes that extra mile, ESGR has the option to recognize them with the ESGR Patriot Award.
This Wednesday, I had the honor of presenting the Patriot Award to my editor, Anne Sowards, of Ace/Roc Books at Penguin Group, USA.
Anne is not my traditional employer. She doesn’t cut me a W-2 style paycheck. But Penguin takes a risk in giving a book contract to a reservist. If recalled, I might have to miss deadlines, or important marketing/promotional events. Heck, I *just* got off an unanticipated 2 month activation just a few weeks ago! By giving a book contract to a reservist Anne and Penguin show they’re willing to shoulder the risk along side those of us in uniform.
They give credence to ESGR’s motto “We All Serve.”
Congratulations Anne and Penguin. I’m proud to serve alongside you.