Citizen Soldiers Should Not Be Second Class Litigants

Yesterday's Navy Times tells the story of two reservists that appear to have lost their jobs as a result of military service to this country.

One of the men, Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Eric Grenesko, was laid off from a job as a service manager for a Pittsburgh company while he was away on military training. The second man, Richard Erickson of Fort Myers, Fla., was fired from the U.S. Postal Service for what his termination letter says was excessive use of military leave.

Don't think they're alone.

Today's Birmingham News explains the complaints of such unlawful employer discrimination are significant among the some 600,000 reservists and Guard members that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan the past 6 years.

Between 2004 and 2006, federal agencies fielded 16,000 formal and informal complaints from reservists under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, also known as USERRA, according to a 2007 government report.

Right now, those employers even found to have broken the law can avoid jury trials and extra monetary punishment... a right of redress every other citizen in the United States currently enjoys.

Thankfully, Representative Artur Davis (D-AL), a very good friend to my campaign, is taking a stand for our citizen soldiers with the Reservists Access to Justice Act 2007.

Rep. Davis was joined on the Hill yesterday by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa), Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn), the Reserve Officers Association and Military Officers Association of America to rally the troops...for the troops.

"It is a threat to the whole system of the Guard and Reserve in this country if these individuals are vulnerable," Davis said. "They ought to have the opportunity to have the same level of protections we extend to minorities and women."

I couldn't agree more. It a National Security issue, in fact. As I said when I started this campaign for North Carolina's 8th District, proud home of Fort Bragg, the 82nd Airborne and countless military families and veterans...

How we treat our veterans is both indicative of our nation's moral fiber and what we can expect from future generations when the call for sacrifice is made again. -1/13/06

We MUST do better than bumper stickers. I've already heard of some radio reports mentioning the republican critics of this measure are already saying it'll just add to the 'frivolous' lawsuits in America. I can't even tell you what I think about that in polite company, to impugn the integrity of the brave souls that would lay down their lives for this nation.

THANK YOU Congressman Davis for truly supporting our troops.