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Minnesota National Guard
Business forum: Veterans armed with job protection

Minnesotans join the rest of the nation in honoring military veterans The traditional Veterans Day fell on Sunday, Nov 11, commemorating the end of World War I 94 years ago But many official observances are Monday, including ceremonial events at various cemeteries, Fort Snelling and other sites around the country

Minnesota honors those who have served in the military in the workplace, too, including legislation adopted earlier this year that expands job opportunities for veterans and their spouses

Laws aimed at giving veterans more job-related rights date to the late 19th century in Minnesota, including a measure that provides greater job protection in the public sector than non-veterans receive Other long-standing laws give veterans and their spouses advantages in hiring and for some promotions within the public sector

The most recent addition to Minnesota laws favoring veterans was passed by the Legislature this year and signed by Gov Mark Dayton The measure extends the rights of veterans from the public sector to private enterprise Under the law, private-sector employers are authorized, but not obligated, to grant "preference" to hiring and promoting veterans This also extends to spouses of military veterans who are permanently and totally disabled due to a service-related injury and to the surviving spouses of deceased veterans

The law does not specify what type of "preference" may be granted, how it may be bestowed, or any other details Rather, it simply permits employers to give such preferences to veterans and, if disabled or deceased, to their spouses

Pre-existing law in Minnesota prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals because of their military status The new law, conversely, allows them to be given preferential treatment and, to dispel any doubt, expressly states that granting such favoritism does not constitute a violation of any state or local anti-discrimination laws

That exemption, however, does not assure avoidance of litigation A non-veteran might still find some ways to assert discrimination because of preferential treatment given to veterans

Further, veterans themselves may raise various charges that they are being treated less favorably than other veterans with different or longer military service records

These disputes may be avoided if company management adopts written policies for according preference to veterans in hiring or promotion Failure to do so could leave firms vulnerable to charges of impropriety in positioning veterans more favorably than non-veterans or even in preferring some veterans over others

Vet preference

The private-sector preference permitted by the new Minnesota law complements other favorable considerations that veterans receive in the state One law allows veterans and their spouses preferential treatment in hiring in the public sector If competitive examinations are given for hiring, veterans and their spouses are required to be given 5 additional points on a 100-point scale, while disabled veterans can obtain up to 10 points On first-time promotional exams, disabled veterans are given 5 points

And preferential treatment does not exist only in hiring The venerable Veterans' Preference Act, which has been on the state's books since 1907, entitles those who performed military service for more than six months and have been honorably discharged the right to challenge any dismissal -- and even some significant demotions -- in most public-sector jobs by requiring the employer to prove that the action is taken against them because of "incompetency or misconduct" This is a high standard that gives veterans much more protection than their colleagues, who generally work on an at-will basis and can be demoted, disciplined or even discharged without proof of poor performance or any misbehavior

The Veterans' Preference law primarily covers employees of county, municipal and other local branches of government, with some exceptions for management-level jobs The law does not extend to employees of the state or the University of Minnesota

Still, the Veterans' Preference measure is a potent one Not only does it limit disciplinary action, especially termination of veterans, but it also allows them to remain on the payroll during the time that they are contesting any discharge

Another law, also only applicable to public-sector employees, grants veterans a leave of absence for up to 15 days a year for military service

These Minnesota measures exist side by side with some workplace protection laws at the federal level The most notable is the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, commonly known as USEERA, which prohibits retaliation against an individual because of past, present or prospective military service It is most often invoked when those in the military are denied their jobs, or given inferior ones, upon return from the service Some may view these preferential measures as being unfair to those who are not veterans Those who have worn the uniform may feel that they are entitled to even more advantages in the workplace But they are definitely armed with an arsenal of laws that can protect their rights in the workplace
StarTribune
http://www.startribune.com/business/178255121.html



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Minnesota Guard hosts Broadcasters Association visit

Posted: 2016-04-28  04:19 PM
Broadcasters Association CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Members of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association visited the Minnesota National Guard training site at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, April 26-27, 2016. The visit brought together radio and television broadcasters from across the state along with representatives of the Minnesota National Guard to highlight the years of positive relationships that have benefited the Minnesota public.

"On behalf of Maj. Gen. Rick Nash, the adjutant general of Minnesota, we are pleased to be able to spend time with members of the Minnesota Broadcasters Association at Camp Ripley," said Col. Kevin Olson, director of communications for the Minnesota National Guard.



For Minnesota Guardsman, military service leads to career in law enforcement

Posted: 2016-04-26  02:36 PM
David Zolldan ST. PAUL, Minn. - If you're looking to meet Sgt. David Zolldan of the Minnesota National Guard, there's a right way...and a wrong way. If you choose to text and drive, speed or fail to keep right on Minnesota's highways, check your rearview mirror, he might be there.

Seeing him standing proudly in the distinctive maroon and khaki uniform of the Minnesota State Patrol or on drill weekends, wearing the camouflage of a Soldier and military police officer, you might guess that Zolldan was born to serve and protect. But to him, the path to where he is today wasn't always as clear as one might think.

"I'm kind of an anomaly in my family," said Zolldan, thinking through where else he might have gone with his career. "All my family members are teachers."



Mental health focus of conference at Camp Ripley

Posted: 2016-04-20  09:27 AM
Mental Health Conference CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Yellow Ribbon community members, military leaders, and mental health professionals attended the Military Mental Health Initiative Conference April 12-14 at Camp Ripley.

Several guest speakers, along with military personnel and field professionals, met to unite community mental health providers with existing services and resources for worthwhile, up-to-date support to service members, veterans and families.

"Our objective here is to assist in facilitating a seamless transition for care between civilian and military behavioral health providers for Minnesota National Guard service members and their families," said Rebekah Pulju, behavior health officer with the Minnesota National Guard.



Minnesota ministry teams lock arms for joint training

Posted: 2016-04-13  08:29 AM
Chaplain training CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Army and Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from the Minnesota National Guard took part in annual Religious Support Team collective training at Camp Ripley, April 8-9, 2016.

The training was organized to provide a common operating picture of techniques and practices used by chaplains in the field as well as in garrison and on assignment.

"This is a great opportunity for us, bringing all the ministry elements of the Minnesota National Guard together," said Lt. Col. Michael Crawford, Camp Ripley Garrison chaplain.



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