Citizen-servicemembers are those brave volunteers who serve in our nation’s military on a part-time basis in one of the seven branches of the Reserve Component. These citizen-servicemembers are often referred to as “weekend warriors,” because they spend the majority of their time working in their civilian career field, only doing their reserve duty on the weekends. The “weekend warrior” mentality might very well have been the expectation of our citizen-servicemembers when they joined the Reserve Component, but today’s citizen-servicemembers are finding they are spending more and more time activated and deployed to hostile environments. Historically, our country has always utilized its Reserve Component, but since the Gulf War in the 1990s, our reliance on citizen-servicemembers has grown exponentially. Recruiting and retaining citizen-servicemembers is critical to maintaining a sizable military force capable of meeting its mission requirements. Reserve Component recruiting and retention boils down to an individualized cost-benefit analysis. We have to provide citizen-servicemembers strong benefits and protections to outweigh the costs associated with frequent activations and deployments.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) provides many benefits to citizen-servicemembers, primarily associated with reemployment rights and discrimination; but it needs to be strengthened to be more effective. A recent amendment to USERRA to create a hostile work environment cause of action is a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. In order to strengthen the law, USERRA needs to be statutorily amended to specifically preempt mandatory binding arbitration clauses in employment contracts and to encourage state’s to waive their sovereign immunity and allow individuals to sue state employers in federal court for violations of the law.
|School:||The George Washington University|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Law, Labor relations, Military studies|
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