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Employers saluted for support of National Guard, Reserve

published in The Oklahoman | April 5, 2017
Nathan Whatley
Nathan Whatley

In an article titled “Employers saluted for support of National Guard, Reserve” featured in The Oklahoman, business writer Paula Burkes reported that three Oklahoma employers – IHS Markit, Bartlesville High School, and International Chemical Co. – have been named semifinalists for the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The award honors employers who exhibit exceptional support of their employees serving in the National Guard and Reserve. Past winners from Oklahoma include Burford Corp., Charles Machine Works, the Choctaw Nation, Devon Energy, and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group.

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Nathan Whatley, who was quoted in the article, explained what responsibilities employers have under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act (USERRA). The federal law was enacted in 1994 to protect the job rights of individuals who voluntarily or involuntarily leave civilian employment positions to perform service in the uniformed services. Among those is the right of uniformed service members to return from military leave to similar positions as those they left, except in limited circumstances, said Whatley. Those exceptions include instances in which a company would have to create a useless job in order to re-employ reservists, or when a company’s reduction in force would have included employees on military leave.