NYC is home to thousands of Military Reserve and National Guard troops who work civilian jobs throughout most of the year, but participate in the military on a part-time basis. This part-time military service may include activations or deployments of up to one or more years in support of federal military operations. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (known as "USERRA") is the federal law that prevents discrimination against Reservists and National Guard members when it comes to employment and housing, and provides protections during the absence and return of activated or deployed troops. Additionally, some National Guard troops serve on State Active Duty (SAD) as part of Joint Task Force Empire Shield augmenting security at locations around the five boroughs, or during emergency responses such as Hurricane Sandy. Different state laws apply to the activation of troops on SAD.
Because of their unique role in federal military operations and the lesser degree of support they receive upon their return, in addition to poor public knowledge and understanding of USERRA protections and SAD duties, these individuals have faced undue challenges following their periods of federal and state service.
Below are the most recent posts, statements, and recommendations the NYC Veterans Alliance has made on this issue: