Online tool helps returning warfighters get jobs

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Web site

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As it copes with the ballooning tasks of supporting waves of National Guard members and Reservists returning from combat, the Pentagon has deployed an online tool to help the warfighters resolve problems arising from their attempts to obtain jobs.

The returning Guard and Reserve members’ employment rights are secured by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), the Pentagon said today.

The Defense Department provides an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Web site to help reservists contact one of 900 volunteer ombudsmen who help the soldiers enforce their rights under the job rights law, DOD said.

Now, the reservists will be able to contact the ombudsmen via a direct link on the ESGR site, according to a press statement.

"Users explain the problem they’re having and provide contact information for both themselves and their employers, and the information is stored on a secure server," according to the Pentagon’s press statement. The ESGR service then assigns the problem to an ombudsman, who contacts the reservist within 48 hours, the release states.

If the ombudsmen fail to resolve the problem within two weeks, they refer the warfighters to the Labor Department. Labor has legal authority to enforce compliance with the employment rights law.

"While Guardsmen and reservists have always been able to e-mail us from the Web site, the USERRA Complaint Request allows them the opportunity to initiate an ombudsman case online at any time of the day or night," said Philip Pope, ESGR’s acting executive director. "The online request will complement the customer service center in making ESGR more accessible to Guardsmen and reservists serving all over the world."

Wilson P. Dizard III writes for Government Computer News, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

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