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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-08-07 04:25 PM
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Jobless returning troops blame government
Jobless returning troops blame government

Survey shows 44% of reservists not happy with Labor Department's handling of employment discrimination issues; Sen. Kennedy (D-Mass.) plans legislation.
November 8 2007: 8:14 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Strained by extended tours in Iraq, growing numbers of military reservists say the government is providing little help to soldiers who are denied their old jobs when they return home, Defense Department data shows.

The Pentagon survey of reservists in 2005-2006, obtained by The Associated Press, details increasing discontent among returning troops in protecting their legal rights after taking leave from work to fight for their country.

It found that 44 percent of the reservists polled said they were dissatisfied with how the Labor Department handled their complaint of employment discrimination based on their military status, up from 27 percent from 2004.

Nearly one-third, or 29 percent, said they had difficulty getting the information they needed from government agencies charged with protecting their rights, while 77 percent reported they didn't even bother trying to get assistance in part because they didn't think it would make a difference.

Legal experts say the findings might represent the tip of the iceberg. Formal complaints to the Labor Department by reservists hit nearly 1,600 in 2005 -- the highest number since 1991 -- not counting the thousands more cases reported each year to the Pentagon for resolution by mediation.

And a bump in complaints is likely once the Iraq war winds down and more people come home after an extended period in which employers were forced to restructure or hire new workers to cope with those on military leave, they said.

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