Washington Verdict Spotlights Military Discrimination

Campbell says she was without work for two years, and now makes less money than at her previous job. Her former employer, Catholic Community Services, has the option of appealing the jury’s decision.

Last month, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced SB 2299, a bill to strengthen job protections for service members, including allowing the government to be a party in soldiers’ lawsuits against employers. 

With more than 770,000 National Guard and Reserve members back from deployments in the past decade, similar complaints are on the increase. Campbell’s attorney, James Beck, says he has worked on multiple cases for soldiers having difficulty re-entering the civilian workforce. He has this advice for employers:

“Whether they feel like this is a hardship on the company or not, they’ve got obligations to ensure that there’s not resentment among coworkers in a person’s absence, and that the military member returns to a work environment and job substantially similar to what they had when they left for their service obligations.”

There is an official process for service members’ employment-related complaints, although it has been described by veterans’ groups as difficult and expensive to navigate.

The text of Murray’s bill is online at cecil.md.networkofcare.org.