Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently announced that he has joined 23 states in filing an amicus brief to protect members of the National Guard from employment discrimination.
The amicus brief was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. It was filed in response to an Illinois district court ruling that found the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) only applies to National Guardsmen when their absences from work are associated with federal-related duty, not state-related.
The USERRA is a 1994 federal law intended to protect National Guardsmen from discrimination in employment and ensure that they aren’t disadvantaged in their careers.
“When the men and women of our National Guard are called to full-time duty, they should be protected against workplace discrimination regardless of whether they are serving under the direction of the Governor or the President of the United States,” Yost said in a press release. “They stand ready to protect us, and we should work tirelessly to protect them.”
The amicus brief, filed Tuesday, asks the appeals court to overturn the ruling.
“The district court’s opinion, if not reversed, will discourage individuals from serving in the States’ National Guards and fulfilling various duties … including homeland security operations, responses to disasters and other emergencies … by denying them USERRA protection for that service,” the amicus brief states.
Yost’s office said that while the Seventh Circuit doesn’t cover Ohio, the ruling will impact Ohio National Guardsmen who work across the border in Indiana, which is in the Seventh Circuit.
“If it saves one Ohioan from being mistreated at work based on service to his country, that is reason enough for me,” Yost added.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Army National Guard” by Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith.