By American Forces Press ServiceApril 9, 2007
WASHINGTON, April 6, 2007 - National Guard and Reserve members now need turn no farther than their computers to get help with employment issues arising from their military service or mobilization.
A new link on the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Web site leads reserve-component members to one of some 900 volunteer ESGR ombudsmen. The link is on the right side of the ESGR Web site at www.esgr.mil.
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.
ESGR then assigns the request to an ombudsman who contacts the servicemember within 48 hours to resolve Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act complaints.
The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act is the federal law that protects military reservists' jobs and prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of military service.
Ombudsmen initially try to resolve the problem through informal mediation. If that proves unsuccessful within 14 days, the ombudsman will refer the Guardsman or reservist to the U.S. Department of Labor. DOL has statutory authority to enforce the USERRA law.
Officials said the new online USERRA Complaint Request provides a new avenue for providing ESGR services to reserve-component members who need them.
"While Guardsmen and reservists have always been able to email us from the website, the USERRA Complaint Request allows them the opportunity to initiate an ombudsman case online at any time of the day or night," said Philip T. 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."
Reserve-component members also can continue to use ESGR's customer service center at 800-336-4590 to initiate a request.
ESGR is a DoD agency established in 1972 to build and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and reserve. ESGR volunteers provide free education, consultation, and if necessary, mediation for Guard and reserve employers of Guard and reserve employees