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Military Obligation and Job Security

An article in the March 15, 2003 edition of the Tucson Citizen features the story about a man serving in the Navy reserve who was fired by his employer for “job abandonment.” Allegedly, the employer, Pep Boys, did not want to allow one of their store managers, Erik Balodis, time off to serve.

According to the article, Pep Boys fired Balodis because “his duties with the Navy were keeping him from work.” In the face of federal and state laws, and despite being notified by Balodis about his upcoming call to duty and despite Balodis working 20 days straight before leaving for duty, the company fired the man.

Turns out other military reservists have also been let go by Pep Boys when they were called up for military duty. As an employer myself and a former Navy man, this kind of news gets under my skin. Federal law is clear: Someone who is performing an obligation in a uniformed service shall not be denied retention in employment on the basis of their performing service in line with their obligation.

Employers should take notice: Employment is protected under federal law for those under military obligation.
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