Reservists say government's promise to protect their jobs often falls short

Despite measures aimed at helping veterans in their job search, military service members are facing challenges finding employment after they return from duty, according to Hill.TV's Alison Spann, who uncovered various complaints and lawsuits on the matter.

"You just have nobody there to protect the reservists' interests," Mark Coast, a 30 year Marine reservist, told Spann. Coast said his service was seen as a detriment at his job at the Drug Enforcement Agency. 

"I've seen things very subtle, meaning that, 'Hey, we're going to give you the worst car that they have or not even give you a government car, which is a requirement of the job. They'll move you to different groups, they'll tell you-you're not eligible for promotion. They may generate some sort of allegation against you that you can't possibly get something done," he said.

Coast, who is now retired, sued his agency for violating Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) law. 

Spann found various lawsuits and whistleblower cases where reservists reported retaliation, lost jobs, lost wages, and hostile work environments due to their service in the military. 

There have been measures to press federal agencies and the private sector to hire and protect servicemembers through measures, such as the Hero's Hiring Act of 2011 and expanding protections under USERRA law. 

However, Coast said the Department of Justice has interpreted the USERRA law to its own advantage. 

"They made an assumption in the law that the federal government would be the model employer," he said. "You basically have the fox guarding the hen house, and you just have nobody there to protect the reservists' interests," he said. 

— Julia Manchester