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The USERRA and the lack of protection for Aux.
Last Post 30 Aug 2015 12:11 AM by frank999999. 4 Replies.
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VicNaz1User is Offline
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VicNaz1

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18 Nov 2014 01:43 PM
    OK, here's one I looked into casually a few years ago and it came to the forefront for me personally about 3 months ago. On 13 Sept. 2014 upon landing from an AuxAir patrol under orders our aircraft slid off the runway and flipped over. The airplane was pretty much FUBAR but the three of us walked away with only minor injuries and no trips to the hospital. The matter is still under investigation but for me, siting in the right seat as Air Crew (with lots of time in the air and an aerospace engineering degree) I don't think the pilot did anything incorrectly.

    Anyway, I got home safe and that evening I bought a round of drinks at my favorite watering hole to celebrate the fact that I didn't get awarded a patch of government dirt for eternity. My wife and I went out that night specifically because I was pretty banged up and I knew I'd feel worse the next day (and some days that followed).

    We were lucky, very lucky. Because I had been through rigorous egress training including the dunker, I was out of the airplane in 8 seconds and very luckily discovered we didn't have a fire. Also luckily, we all exited the airplane without suffering further injury and slept in our own beds that night. In the weeks to come all any of us needed was some light rehab which was covered under our own individual insurances, backed up by the Coast Guard willingness to pay for anything not otherwise covered (Signed CA-1 form to DirAux and the OIA).

    Here's the issue. If any of us had been unable to return to work for whatever reason, that employer could have fired us on the spot and the Coast Guard and the Federal Government would have left us to swing in the wind.

    Myself, I had just started a new job as a contractor at the DoD and I was lucky, again. My supervisors (both my company manager and the Gov. department head) were both completely easy going about it and told me to take whatever time I needed and make it up as possible. I used most of the tiny amount of sick leave I had. On days when I was too sore to come in to work or stay at the work site all day, I went/stayed home and made up the hours however I could.

    My previous employer however back in 2012 and 2013 would probably have not been so understanding. At that previous job it had been made clear to me by my immediate program manager the he regarded my service as worthless, equal to being a den mother for Cub Scouts or meeting leader for Toastmasters (both fine organizations by the way). That particular individual made it completely clear that I'd be terminated for any excuse he could find if it could be associated with my duty and service.

    The fact is, that previous, unpleasant program manager might have been within his legal rights under the USERRA. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act does not specifically extend any protections to Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel under any circumstances. Thus, under Title 14, since Aux. are not specifically indicated in a particular law or regulation, we are excluded from it (look it up).

    So, in fact I got even more lucky than simply surviving a plane crash while serving my nation. I had managed to find work with my current, wonderful employer that is understanding and supportive of my service and I managed NOT to have any catastrophic incidents while working for the previous, extremely unpleasant employer.

    Revisiting the issue, it should not be a matter of luck that I managed to avoid loosing my job because of a circumstance out of my control while assigned to duty. If the order issuing authority (or any other active duty command) had made it impossible for me to return to work due to the exigencies of the service or the safety of personnel involved the Auxiliary personnel involved should not have to 'hope' things turn out OK at work. If an Aux. on a surface patrol is hurt by a snapped halyard or a Vessel Examiner is burned by an out-of-date flare igniting during an inspection, he or she shouldn't have to 'hope' things turn out OK at work. If an AuxAir flight is diverted by the active duty Coast Guard for a Search and Rescue or weather or any other official circumstance the crew should not have to 'hope' things turn out OK at work if they cannot make it the next work day.

    If I find a Genie in a bottle and I get my 3 wishes, one of them might very well be to fix the regulations and laws so that Aux. are protected in circumstances as referenced above. I would, if I could do so today, immediately fix the USERRA so that Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel are included and if they are performing bona fide service or assigned to duty they would not have to be lucky to keep their 'day' jobs if things go wrong.

    Thoughts anyone?
    Old Guard2User is Offline
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    Old Guard2

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    18 Nov 2014 02:19 PM
    No thoughts other than grateful you are ok and you and the Mrs. can celebrate another sunrise together. Hope the soreness and aches and pains have worn off by now. Glad you are still here with us.
    Sector NY, Staten Island
    cowboyauxUser is Offline
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    cowboyaux

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    18 Nov 2014 02:25 PM
    I vaguely recall CAP obtaining statutory employment protection if they were under orders. I'll have to look it up and get back to you.
    NYBoUser is Offline
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    21 Nov 2014 10:30 PM
    I completely agree with your thoughts, and echo Old Guard2's sentiments.
    frank999999User is Offline
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    frank999999

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    30 Aug 2015 12:11 AM
    Have you sent this up the chain to the National Commodore?
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